Out on the Trail, Romney Broadens Foreign Policy Critique of Obama

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney campaigns at Van Dyck Park September 13, 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia

Fairfax, Va.

Returning to the campaign trail a day after his barbs at Barack Obama’s handling of the Middle Eastern attacks sparked recriminations, Mitt Romney amplified his criticism of Obama’s foreign policy, arguing the President had put the U.S. “at the mercy of events, instead of shaping events.”

Romney kicked off his remarks in this bellwether Northern Virginia suburb by blasting Obama for reducing the might of the U.S. military. “We have to have a military second to none, and that’s so strong no one would ever think of testing it” Romney said. Obama, he argued, had erred in scaling back the country’s capacity to exert its strength around the world.

(MORE: Romney Criticized for Political Turn After Ambassador’s Killing)

“This president has done something I find very hard to understand,” Romney said.  “Ever since FDR, we’ve had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once. And he’s saying, no — we’re going to cut that back to only one conflict.” The line drew applause from the crowd of some 2,700 gathered in a park across from a high school. But it was arguably an off-key note at a moment when even large factions of the Republican Party have grown weary of grinding wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Romney’s withering attacks on the President’s handling of the protests at the U.S. embassy in Cairo and the deadly attacks on the temporary consulate in Libya on Tuesday make clear that he intends to take a hawkish position on foreign policy – a perch from which he can criticize Obama as a feckless apologist who has diminished America’s standing abroad. Romney, whose budget blueprint includes an increase in military funding, slammed the incumbent for proposing deep cuts to defense appropriation through a budget that slices spending and the sequester agreed to as part of the debt-limit deal.

(MORE: Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy Gamble)

“If I’m President of the U.S., we will restore our military commitment and keep America the strongest military in the world,” he said. The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership.”

The former Massachusetts governor sparked a bipartisan backlash Tuesday night for blasting Obama’s “disgraceful” decision to “sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” (In fact, Obama had no role in the statement Romney was referring to, issued by the U.S. embassy in Egypt, and the attacks had yet to occur when it went out.) Despite the criticism his remarks drew, on Wednesday morning Romney doubled down, arguing it was “a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values.” And his remarks Thursday foreshadow an intent to keep hammering away.

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Sept. 7-14)

Foreign policy has been an area of relative strength for Obama, who has regularly lead on the subject in the polls. And while it’s a topic on which Republicans have traditionally thrived, it’s also one where Romney’s resume is thin — a weakness exacerbated by his uneven performance on an international trip this summer. But the attacks in Egypt and Libya, and the specter of regional tumult that accompanies them, have thrust foreign affairs to the forefront of the presidential race with less than two months to go.

(MORE: After Benghazi Consulate Attack, What’s Next for U.S. Relations with Libya and Egypt?)

Romney advisers say they believe foreign policy – the subject of the candidates’ first national debate, on Oct. 3 – favors their candidate. Public support for the course Obama took during the Arab spring could plummet if the tinderbox ignites. Advisers say Romney’s controversial criticism of Obama bore out a criticism he has been leveling at Obama at least since 2010, when he published a book, No Apology, that accused the President of kowtowing to foreign governments. At Thursday’s Fairfax rally, several fans toted copies of the book. “Give ‘em hell, Mitt!” one yelled.

Not everyone was on Romney’s side. As the candidate began his remarks, he was heckled by a man who cried, “Why are you politicizing Libya?” To drown him out, the crowd began a U-S-A chant and placed a campaign placard in front of his face before the man was escorted out. Romney, who had just issued a halting tribute to America’s four fallen diplomats – “What a tragedy to lose such a wonderful, wonderful, uh, wonderful people that have been so wonderful” — seemed a little rattled. “I would offer a moment of silence, but one gentleman doesn’t want to be silent, so we’re going to keep on going,” he said. “Let me talk about something else.”

MORE: Timeline: What Happened in Libya and How the U.S. Reacted

114 comments
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Glen Fiddich
Glen Fiddich

http://www.onetermmore.com/vid...

 

Just some of Obama's

accomplishments:  

 

Extend child tax credits and marriage-penalty fixes

 

Increase minority access to capital  

Establish a credit card bill of rights  

Expand loan programs for small businesses  

Extend the Bush tax cuts for lower incomes  

Extend the Bush tax cuts for those making less than

$250,000 (couples) or $200,000 (single)  

Close the “doughnut hole” in Medicare prescription

drug plan  

Require insurance companies to cover pre-existing

conditions  

Give tax credits to those who need help to pay

health premiums  

Require large employers to contribute to a national

health plan  

Require children to have health insurance coverage

 

Expand eligibility for Medicaid  

Expand eligibility for State Children’s Health

Insurance Fund (SCHIP)  

Require health plans to disclose how much of the

premium goes to patient care  

Establish an independent health institute to provide

accurate and objective information  

In non-competitive markets, force insurers to pay

out a reasonable share of their premiums for patient care  

Eliminate the higher subsidies to Medicare Advantage

plans  

Reinstate executive order to hire an additional

100,000 federal employees with disabilities within five years.  

Increase the Veterans Administration budget to

recruit and retain more mental health  

Fully fund the Veterans Administration  

Expand the Veterans Administration’s number of

“centers of excellence” in specialty care  

Fully fund the Violence Against Women Act  

Direct military leaders to end war in Iraq  

Begin removing combat brigades from Iraq  

No permanent bases in Iraq  

End the abuse of supplemental budgets for war  

Make U.S. military aid to Pakistan conditional on

anti-terror efforts  

Open “America Houses” in Islamic cities around the

globe  

Allocate Homeland Security funding according to risk

 

Seek verifiable reductions in nuclear stockpiles

 

Extend monitoring and verification provisions of the

START I Treaty  

Stand down nuclear forces to be reduced under the

Moscow Treaty  

Create a rapid response fund for emerging

democracies  

Grant Americans unrestricted rights to visit family

and send money to Cuba  

Establish an Energy Partnership for the Americas

 

Expand the Nurse-Family Partnership to all

low-income, first-time mothers  

Release presidential records  

Require new hires to sign a form affirming their

hiring was not due to political affiliation or contributions.  

Provide affordable, high-quality child care  

Recruit math and science degree graduates to the

teaching profession  

Reduce subsidies to private student lenders and

protect student borrowers  

Increase funding for national parks and forests

 

Expand Pell grants for low-income students 

 

Phaerisee
Phaerisee

Conservatives are better off sending a protest message to the GOP leadership after being ignored in the primaries. A vote for Obama or Johnson will ensure a better candidate next time around.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

 

ChowT
ChowT

Dear Mitt Romney, foreign policy is not offshore tax havens.

Amal
Amal

"We’ve had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once. And he’s saying, no — we’re going to cut that back to only one conflict.”I don't think I want to live in a world where romney is the leader of our country- a world where more conflict is better. 

#obama2012

ChowT
ChowT

GOP= conflict makes money= larger defense budgets.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

Let's take a little trip back in time to see how far the GOP has fallen.

1980 presidential election:  News reports that an effort to rescue the American hostages from the Tehran embassy failed.

Response by Republican candidate Ronald Reagan?  "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united."

Response from Republican candidate George H.W. Bush? “I unequivocally support the president of the United States — no ifs, ands or buts — and it certainly is not a time to try to go one-up politically."

Mr. Romney, politics stops at the nation's shore, sir.  Anyone with any hope of one day leading this nation should know that.

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney = Romney first= country last.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

Most will never say so publicly, but Republicans are coming to the realization that in nominating Mr. Romney what they got was Bob Dole '96.

Phoenix31756
Phoenix31756

“If I’m President of the U.S., we will restore our military commitment and keep America the strongest military in the world,” he said. The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership.”

OH BOY, Another LUNATIC whose power-hungry ! 

ChowT
ChowT

War does not achieve anything.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

I think people are seriously underestimating Mr. Romney's foreign policy experience. 

If some diabolical foreign power tries to stage a sneak Olympics in the middle of Nowhere, USA, I'm sure Mr. Romney is more than capable of handling that crisis.

Also, I bet he knows just where to look if terrorist groups are trying to hide assets in off-shore accounts and secret Swiss banks.

And his extensive experience as a missionary in France will finally allow us to break the grip Perrier has had on the fizzy water market.

We live in a world with walls.

However, you liberals don't want the truth.  Because deep down, in places you don't talk about at parties, you want Mr. Romney on that wall.  You need him on that wall.

ChowT
ChowT

Mitt Romney has the nuns as spies.

xxxmarksthespot
xxxmarksthespot

this man is a clown respectfully no offense to ringling brothers

brenro
brenro

Romney needs to quit while he's behind. Even his more lucid supporters know how weak he is on this topic. He's just digging himself a deeper and deeper hole.

PaoloBernasconi
PaoloBernasconi

it is stupid to attack Obama in a moment of international crisis caused clearly by factors totally out of the control of the President .. it will only give more power to Obama and make Romney look like a loser

Jax Wolff
Jax Wolff

Romney said.  “Ever since FDR, we’ve had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once. And he’s saying, no — we’re going to cut that back to only one conflict.”

Hey Willard, ask Afghanistan if we were fully engaged there after we start a war with Iraq.

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

"(Romney) appealed to the worst in the American people when he failed to stand up.."  

 

That says it all.

Godzilla1960
Godzilla1960

Yes, of course Mr. Romney is demagoguing the issue of war, the military, and events in Libya.

What baffles me, however, is that he is making a bad political move.  He does not appear to have a finger on the pulse of the American electorate when it comes to the issue of the military and war (or much else, thus far in the campaign).  

Overwhelmingly, Americans are disillusioned with both the war in Iraq and Afghanistan.  Furthermore, the majority of Americans now disapprove of the go-it-alone policy of the previous administration, as well as the idea that we need to spend more money on the military.  

War mongering is just plain bad politics at this time in our history.  Yet, Mr. Romney doesn't seem to get that.

The GOP seems intent on giving this election to Mr. Obama, who by all historical precedents should be trailing badly in the polls on his way to a defeat.  

Lee Melly
Lee Melly

 He's managed to do just that, so far. My favorite one was when he said, "I don't remember what I said , but I stand by it whatever it was".  Presidential material? I think not!

JohnYuEsq
JohnYuEsq

NUTCASE Romney STOP WASTING your campaign’s money, and our TIME. Go gentle into that good night, now.

davidbaker335
davidbaker335

what makes romnie think he has the experience to crtique any forign pollicy, this guy cant even go to a friendly country to watch a sporting event without pissing off the whole place, and 2 years ago all the republicans were badmouthing him for not bring home the troops, anything to critiz him and try to make him look bad,  if it wasn't for him we would be in a big depression

NavyMom21
NavyMom21

Have they been able to trace the bankrollers of the film back to Rmoney yet?  Adelson? Rove? Anyone? Anyone?

rokinsteve
rokinsteve

Now playing in conservative land:  "Axis of evil Revisited".  See Romney the draft-

dodger talk of carpet bombing any country who doesn't agree with him.

kms123
kms123

The neocons are at it again. They pushed Bush the Younger to start that mad rush to Baghdad in search of non-existant WMDs that cost us over a trillion dollars. (Keep in mind that Bush also gifted the nation the biggest recession since the Great Depression and from which we are still struggling to recove). Now they want more wars. I suppose if Romey were President today we would have seen Cairo, Benghazi, Tehran and Moscow nuked by now.

sorne
sorne

 If we are dumb enough to go to war again, then thats the way to do it

ChowT
ChowT

way to go Gopers.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 with illegal weapons of mass destruction, the use of which would likely get our UN member status revoked?

imagine a UN without US involvement. scary.

filmnoia
filmnoia

The last desperate life line that Willard and Pauly have is to hope for more US diplomats being murdered and more embassies burned. If the protesters in the Arab streets could cast a vote  it would be for the Ramp;R boys. They need one another.

akpat
akpat

We spend more on the military than the next 10 countries combined and even if we cut it in half we would still spend more. Just how much is enough ? Furthermore its time to spend where we get real results and not on items that either dont work (F35 fighter) or the pentagon doesn't want but gets railroaded through by senators who are controlled by the arms lobby.

ChowT
ChowT

military is business to Gopers.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 how much is enough?

cut ALL non-domestic military to start with.

make it so that each state has to feed a certain amount of soldiers to the national military.

make it so that the states as a whole also supply said military.

assign said military to embassies and non-warzone hostile areas at discretion and direction of the president and the UN.

that would be enough.

-----------

hah....hen again ive always thought that we should close all our borders and focus on being self-sufficient.

michael johnson
michael johnson

The disrespect RMoney showed for Ambassador Stevens, a brave man serving his country in impossible conditions, proves him unfit to be President. Were the tables turned, GOPers would crucify any Dem that pulled this shinola, and everybody knows it.

ChowT
ChowT

To Mitt Romney polls rating are more important than country.

Thats how Gopers behave.

michael johnson
michael johnson

"sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

Where. You speak English Mittens? Where was this asshat really born?

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 mexico....

but daddy is american and so was mommy.

so even if he was born in mexico hes an american citizen by birth.

michael johnson
michael johnson

This is one dangerous tool that gets his foreign policy advice from the twin PNAC psychopaths, John Bolton and Elliot Abrams. If that's not worrisome to you, you need to get better-informed.

Sue_N.
Sue_N.

Why is the GOP so in love with war? Why do bombs beat diplomacy and negotiation in their book? What is it about death and destruction that so appeals to them?

Unless Willard is actually getting foreign policy and security briefings, he has no idea what is actually happening, what the administration is actually doing, or what he's talking about. And yet, as a candidate for president, his words are getting global play.

Why doesn't he just STFU before he makes everything worse?

ChowT
ChowT

War is business, Thats why Gopers loves war.

dawn orthen
dawn orthen

 ME RICH WHITE MAN. ME ALWAYS RIGHT. SHUT UP SLAVE AND MAKE ME MONEY.

thats why. and as for the republial fixation on war, its all a phallus extension. its along the same lines of compensation as "the bigger the gun the bigger the man"

in that regard obama has a metal gun thats automated and fires hundreds of shots before its spent, in rebpublical warfare you have one massive gun that fires quickly and is emptied rapidly