July 26th, 2007
03:09 PM ET
4 years ago

Romney backs Clinton in fight with Obama

Romney campaigned in Iowa Thursday.

MARSHALLTOWN, Iowa (CNN) - At an early morning "Ask Mitt Anything" event Thursday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney joined Sen. Hillary Clinton in criticizing Democratic candidate Sen. Barack Obama for saying he would meet with controversial world leaders during his first year as president.

"It's absolutely extraordinary that someone can be so out of touch with our world," the former Massachusetts governor said. "Meeting with [authoritarian tyrants] is not what a president does."

These comments centered around what Sen. Obama, D-Illinois, said Monday night during the CNN/YouTube debate. He was asked whether he would be willing to meet with world leaders of Iran, Syria, Cuba, Venezuela and North Korea.

"It is a disgrace that we have not spoken to them," Obama said at the podium. "The notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous."

Not so, said Romney.

"A president meets with important leaders where there are mutual interests or where there's been progress or hope to be key progress," Romney said. "Discussions with people of that nature are done through other parties and
things of that nature, but you do not bestow the dignity of the presidency on people like [them]."

Obama's democratic opponent Hillary Clinton has also engaged in a war of words with the junior senator, saying she would use high-level envoys in situations like this.

"We're not going to just have our president meet with Fidel Castro [of Cuba]and Hugo Chavez [of Venezuela] and, you know, the president of North Korea, Iran and Syria until we know better what the way forward would be," Clinton said during the debate. "I don't want to be used for propaganda purposes."

When asked if this means his view aligns with Clinton's, Romney said, "If two Democrats are violently disagreeing with each other, I am probably going to be on the side of one or the other, but she happens to be right in that regard."

But speaking in his stump speech earlier, Romney showed no restraint against her. He said the New York senator would raise corporate taxes, which, he says, would be a bad idea because "the corporations will then go overseas." He also called her healthcare plan "Hillary-care," a phrase he's used at campaign stops before, saying "if you think healthcare is expensive now, wait until it's free!"

He never so much as mentioned any of his fellow Republican candidates seeking the nomination for president.

– CNN Iowa Producer Chris Welch

soundoff (89 Responses)
  1. Robert Worthington, Garland Texas

    I think Obama has it right. I think it would be important to meet with leaders to improve our relations with the rest of the world, relations that George W. Bush for the most part destroyed. I like Barack Obama, but my vote resides with Kucinich because he speaks about the issues that are most important to me such as civil liberties, repeal of patriot act, immediate end to Iraq War, etc. I do support Obama's answer to that question though, especially over the likes of Hillary Clinton or Mitt Romney.

    July 26, 2007 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  2. Wolfram W, Redding CA

    It is naive to think that the strategically detailed question directed to Obama was not a setup and that Clinton had not rehearsed her answer. Obama is right that Clinton demonstrates politics as usual rather than change with this "nice fabricated controversy".

    July 26, 2007 03:57 pm at 3:57 pm |
  3. Greg VanArsdale, Davenport, FL

    MiTT/Clinton are making a mountain out of a mole-hill (again), trying their best at "sensationalism" to make Obama look bad and ignorant. I think a person being honest and sincere is a good thing. If sanctions and non-communication isn't working, then do something that will.

    As for Mitt's comment (Oh, Presidents just don't talk to world leaders. . .") - how do you spell horsepuckey?

    July 26, 2007 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  4. Rosa Peralta. San Antonio. Texas

    Obama showed his demagogic stand when he said he as a President of the United States of America will talk to Hugo Chavez, Castro and all the other renegades’ communists. What is he going to talk about? He can do so now because he is only a state representative. The United States President does not only talk ( not important issues) but establishes relations and dialogues with other dignitaries that have the duty of making this word a better place for all of us and does not have any business talking with ignorant
    Leaders who controlled their people with force and false promises. No Mr. Obama I WILL VOTE FOR YOU!

    July 26, 2007 04:01 pm at 4:01 pm |
  5. Christopher, Santa Monica, CA

    Of course Romney would side with Clinton. For some of the people in the middle, like me, Clinton in (or out of) the race is the key. I'm either an Edwards-Obama vote or a Romney-Rudy vote if Clinton is on the other ticket.

    July 26, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  6. Matt, IL

    Considering most of the products we buy come from other countries, our arrogance is unfounded. Terrorists and the "tyrants" target the US because of our arrogance. It is high time we took a bow walked off stage and let the UN determine global policy. Lets focus on our internal problems for once. I do not want to hear another president pontificate about how we need to continue to ignore other leaders and place sanctions on countries anymore. Sanctions just end up raising the cost for us. Lets once again become self sufficient.

    July 26, 2007 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  7. Mwamadi Yusufu, Columbus OH

    Senator Hillary Clinton calls Senator Obama, "irresponsible and naive." What could be more irresponsible and naive than for Clinton and fellow members of congress at the time to authorize the illegal invasion of a sovereign nation based on bad intelligence that has cost us over $500 billion, and the lives of over 3,000 American soldiers and hundreds of thousands of Iraqi citizens? Clinton should take a look in the mirror to see the definition of "irresponsible and naive." As for Mr. Mitt he just needs to get a life!

    July 26, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  8. andrew k. nyamekye

    ROMMNEY! its a disgrace to hear you back hilary. OBAMA is right! why stand aside in a time like this where every nation pretty much hates our guts! obama has the right idea and the right mind. it is good to meet with these world leaders and talk about peace and how we can help each rather than having the attitude that the U.S constantly reflecting the image of us being better than everyone else, and the we do not care about them attitude, and leaving them out of peace talks and what not. that attitude needs to stop. And with obama it will stop;(but am sure some will greatly disagree that America should not have peace takls with countries who will trun around and stab us in the back)people of this country need someone like obama who is willing to TRY something new for a change. because rommney and hilary dont have the balls to do so! they have the same mentality as that good for nothing GWBUSH! and with that look at where we are at right now with that mentality!.

    July 26, 2007 04:05 pm at 4:05 pm |
  9. Nick, Milwaukee, WI

    How can you expect to know what another leader wants out of a meeting prior to the meeting? In addition, if these leaders are so evil, are Romney and Clinton naive enough to think that they are going to tell the truth? Listen, a foreign policy based on refusing to have a direct dialogue is what got us in this mess in the first place. I suppose the only way we should communicate to leaders we disagree with is by launching cruise missiles or an invasion force.

    July 26, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  10. James :Billings :Montana

    Obama will win it.Hillary is just a fake politician where as Obama is a REAL American who doesnt act fake and stop for baby holding photo shoots.

    Americans NEED a real american as Obama and to get rid of the cookie cutter hillarys and mitts or this country will never move forward.

    July 26, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  11. Belnapper2, SLC, Utah

    Isn't it time to approach things in a different manner? Thus far, Bush/Cheney tactics are obviously not working. Maybe actually trying to speak with these leaders and trying to open the lines of communication would be a better approach, a different approach. Why only meet with leaders that have mutual interests/progress? We need change and I believe Obama is our answer.

    July 26, 2007 04:06 pm at 4:06 pm |
  12. Joseph, Costa Mesa, CA

    "Birds of a feather flock together." Obama wants to open talks with foreign dictators or better yet foreign killers. What does he hope to learn?

    July 26, 2007 04:07 pm at 4:07 pm |
  13. Peter Anderson, Washington, D.C.

    Clearly, Mitt and Hillary are trying to maintain the status quo of the United State's Foreign Policy. Guess what? It hasn't worked. Everyone seems to forget that JFK and Regan met with the opposition several times throughout their administrations, and no has called them naive or inexperienced. This is all part of Clinton's goal to make Obama look inexperienced and unknowledgable, when he is probably the most well prepared and fresh candidate of them all

    July 26, 2007 04:09 pm at 4:09 pm |
  14. David, Gilbert Arizona

    What I find the most humorous about the entire discussion is how convoluted it has become.

    If we might all think back a few days to the YouTube debate we will remember the orginal question was whether or not the candidate would visit these countries in question during their FIRST YEAR as president. Clinton said no. Obama said yes.

    Clinton never said she would not talk to the countries in question at no time during her presidency.

    The entire "war of words" has become laughable and only shows that neither Clinton nor Obama are fit to lead this country. It also shows how selective supporters for either candidate can be when discussing the issues.

    Flip-flop Romney is a walking joke who, unfortunately, isn't remotely funny. He has to put his own spin on some stupid war of words just to get free press. Good job CNN by giving Romney exactly what he was looking for.

    July 26, 2007 04:15 pm at 4:15 pm |
  15. Rick Spivey Greenville SC

    We will have another terrorist attack on our soil within six months if a democratic canidate is elected. Muslims around the world, not just Al Qeada are praying we elect someone who will blame our policies on their hate and terrorism. They want leaders in our country that will let them run rampant so they can plan the next big attack. Obama has shot himself in the foot, he obviously has no idea how a president should act. Iran has already started to court the banana communist in South America, while terrorist have already tried entry from our southern borders. The middle east has not changed in my lifetime, really since the begining of time. That is why our elected leaders Republican or Democrate continue to fail, one side thinks they can talk, the other thinks they can manipulate. Unfortunately, the sad truth is the sword is the only thing that rules that part of the world. Suddam as evil as he was looks pretty wise right now !

    July 26, 2007 04:16 pm at 4:16 pm |
  16. eve atlanta georgia

    goodness, i honeslty hope most of you here are below the age of 8, cause you obviously have problems interpreting few simple paragraphs... neither Romney nor Clinton are saying that these countries should not be contacted, they simply stated that official presidential visits will send a very wrong message to our enemies – and can be used as propaganda. this is very basic. i believe that Obama got ahead of himself and really answered a different question than what was being asked. he answered what you guys are talking about – that there is no reason not to communicate with them, that we should always try to better our international relations. only that's not always done by the president himself. Obama knows this, and is now kicking himself.

    July 26, 2007 04:17 pm at 4:17 pm |
  17. Eduardo, Los Angeles

    Are we forgetting these "hot" areas have been around for a while and that envoys have been sent, meetings have taken place, discussions have been had and that in most cases an impasse reached? Why is it that the United States is always portrayed as the "bad guy" when we don't meet other countries'requirements? Why should the United States be the one to always give in when they are obviously unreasonable demands? The United States doesn't want to control or harm other countries or its Peoples. And the synics that say we are in it for our benefit or interests...remember....benefit of Americans. I'm certain we as Americans would excise our Democratic right(s) to protest when our interests are at stake..specially the ones that hit our pockets. Moreover, are we forgetting that these countries, CUBA, VENEZUELA, NORTH KOREA, IRAN,....are not Democratic and certainly will continue to violate Human Rights. Are we so naive as to trust these "Tyrants" or as many would address as "Presidents" or "World Leaders."

    July 26, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  18. Chris America

    in response to Mauricio Toronto!

    Your from toronto so do not worry about this. It is a slap in the face to send anyone but the President. Rogue nations done care about our third parties. Thats like saying a canadian should worry about this election.

    July 26, 2007 04:19 pm at 4:19 pm |
  19. Conservative in Wichita KS

    Does anyone else have a problem with Mitt Romney calling himself a "Republican" After all he is from Mass. one of the most leftist States in the Union. Come on how can a State with the likes of Kerry and Kennedy vote for a Republican Govenor? it is all to scary if you ask me. Are there any REAL Ronald Reagon type conservatives out there? or are we the last of a dying breed?

    July 26, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  20. Morgan, Atlanta, GA

    I think it is ridiculous that they thought Obama's response was obsurd. Basically what they were saying is that they would be ememies with other leaders just because AMerica does not actually agree with all of what they said. I am upset that Clinton and Obama and disagreeing. Are they not both Democrat and then ROMNEY comes in like this and agree's with Clinton. America is going crazy.

    July 26, 2007 04:20 pm at 4:20 pm |
  21. Brian Arcuri, Miami, FL

    The reason a lot of people around the world dislike the US and that our international relations are so bad is because we don't talk to the people we have problems with.
    Imagine how welcoming it would be that the President of the US would talk with the countries it has problems with. It doesn't sound so complicated does it? Just invite people over and talk.

    July 26, 2007 04:21 pm at 4:21 pm |
  22. RICH,NY NY

    WELL MAYBE IF THE US PRESIDENTS WOULD HAVE TALK TO THESE PEOPLE A LONG TIME AGO! THE US WOULD NOT BE THE MAIN TARGET OF HATE IN THE WORLD! WE CONSIDER THESE PEOPLE DICTATORS AND TYRANTS WHEN OUR OWN HISTORY OF OUR LEADERS HAVE SHOWN OUR FOUNDING FATHERS KILLED THOUSANDS AND THOUSANDS OF NATIVE AMERICAN INDIANS ENSLAVED KILLED RAPE AND SOLD OVER 100MILLION BLACK PEOPLE! STOLE AND SCAM THE MEXICANS OF LAND KNOWN AS TEXAS AND CALIFORNIA AND GOT THE NERVE TO CALL THEM ILLEGAL ALIENS! JESUS SAID "THOSE WITHOUT SIN CAST THE FIRST STONE" WE AS AMERICANS MUST NEVER ALLOW OURSELVES TO THINK THAT WE ARE TO GREAT OR TO HIGH AND MIGHTY AS THE PRESIDENCY NOT TO TALK TO PEOPLE WHO ARE LESS OUR EQUAL OR BEHAVE IN MANNER THAT IS IMMORAL. I AGREE WITH BARACK OBAMA SOMEONE NEEDS TO TALK TO SOMEONE BECAUSE THIS WAR IN IRAQ WILL NEVER BE WON WITH MILITARY MIGHT ALONE!

    July 26, 2007 04:22 pm at 4:22 pm |
  23. DJ, Los Angeles, CA

    Romney is a tool.

    Nixon met with China less than 20 years after we were at war with them in Korea.

    Reagan met with the Gorbachav's Evil Empire many times.

    The only thing Romney is good at is being a greedy vulture, swindling millions from venture capital scams.

    July 26, 2007 04:29 pm at 4:29 pm |
  24. Michelle King, Frederick, MD

    You know this is all crap!!!! What is "the dignity of the presidency". In business, we teach that a leader goes before to prepare the way. It's time we stop hanging our safety and our progress on what has been deemed as dignity.

    No one cares about our presidential dignity but those who have benefited from it. Ask the average american what that means and I'm sure you'll get many different answers.

    July 26, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  25. jcw, Michigan

    “Meeting with [authoritarian tyrants] is not what a president does.”
    Sadly it is what our president is...
    Unfortunately, neither Obama or Romney are a solution.

    July 26, 2007 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
1 2 3 4