June 1st, 2009
02:21 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney slams Obama for 'tour of apology'

In a speech Monday, former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticized President Obama's approach to foreign policy and defense spending.

In a speech Monday, former Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney criticized President Obama's approach to foreign policy and defense spending.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took aim at President Obama's foreign and national security policy Monday, criticizing the commander-in-chief's message abroad as a "tour of apology" and calling plans to trim the missile defense budget a "grave miscalculation" that puts the nation at risk in the face of urgent threats like North Korea's nuclear ambitions.

"Arrogant, delusional tyrants can't be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows," Romney told a conservative crowd at a speech sponsored by the Heritage Foundation in Washington. "Action - strong, bold action coming from a position of strength and determination - is the only effective deterrent."

Nearly two weeks after former Vice President Dick Cheney took on President Obama's national security policy, Romney delivered the latest in a string of tough critiques of the new administration - including a bruising take on Supreme Court pick Sonia Sotomayor - that have made the former Massachusetts governor a conservative favorite in the first months of the new administration, even as he carefully avoids the kind of incendiary attacks and media overexposure that could threaten mainstream appeal he'd need to reach the Oval Office.

Romney argued Monday that the defense budget had been short-changed, and the nation's military readiness has been endangered, because of the president's call to increase spending on domestic programs.

"None of that [new spending] was spent on increasing the defense modernization budget - a failure that history will never understand or excuse, in my view," he said.

The nation's military readiness, Romney argued, was also threatened by the overall economic decisions the president has made.

"At the most fundamental level, our military might depends on the long term strength of our economy," he said. "The president's planned budgets and multitrillion-dollar deficits, financed by a level of borrowing never before attempted by any nation in history, puts our whole economy in jeopardy."

Romney predicted the president's actions "may take us past that proverbial tipping point" and spark a crippling crisis of confidence in the dollar.

Romney, who ran the investment firm Bain Capital before entering politics, often touted his business and managerial experience as a presidential candidate. But he had limited experience with national security matters - a shortcoming that his rival John McCain eagerly highlighted during the primaries.

Since the 2008 election, Romney has re-emerged as a vocal critic of Obama's security agenda, and has made a series of public statements aimed at raising his profile in the foreign policy arena.

In April, he blasted Obama in The Weekly Standard for not objecting when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega criticized the United States at the summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago.

"President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas," Romney wrote.

Last month, when Obama and Cheney presented dueling speeches on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, Romney defended the former vice president and said that the president's speech "was more tortured than the enhanced interrogation techniques he decries."

Romney has said he will not hesitate to praise the president when he agrees with him. At an April fundraiser for Senate Republicans, for instance, Romney applauded Obama for taking the right steps in Iraq and Afghanistan. But despite those kind words, Romney has so far been more critical than supportive of the administration's foreign policy agenda.

A disciplined politician, Romney is quick to say he's not a presidential candidate. But his schedule seems to be a bit off-message.

Earlier this year, he got a hero's welcome at the Conservative Political Action Conference, where more than a few attendees insisted his economic credentials might have nabbed him the Oval Office if the economic crisis had hit before the Republican Party had decided on its standard-bearer.

On Friday, he was the keynote speaker at the Virginia GOP's Commonwealth Gala dinner in Richmond. On Sunday, he weighed in on his party's future on Fox News.

Romney is making appearances as a key member of the National Council for a New America - the move, led by House Minority Whip Eric Cantor of Virginia, to re-brand the GOP. Meanwhile, Free and Strong America PAC - Romney's political action committee dedicated to supporting conservative candidates - is helping him build the national network of party loyalists he'd need to clinch the nomination.

On Sunday, the 2008 presidential contender denied reports he was planning to move his permanent residence to New Hampshire in advance of a repeat run for the nation's top spot. But he was more equivocal on the overall question of a 2012 bid.

"I'm not going to close that door," he told Fox - although he added, "I'm not going to walk through it either."

"[T]he action that I'm going through right now is trying to help people who I think would make a difference for the country and, frankly, also help some people who helped me," he said.

Romney's reinvention hasn't come without a few false steps. Supporters of Newt Gingrich, another Republican leader whose name is regularly mentioned as a possible presidential candidate, complained last month that the former House Speaker was initially prevented from joining the NCNA by the former governor's team - a charge that Romney's aides, and Cantor representatives, strongly denied.

And after he weighed in on behalf of New Jersey gubernatorial candidate Chris Christie, supported by the Free and Strong America PAC, Christie's primary rival Steve Lonegan fired back with a salvo aimed squarely at Romney's chief vulnerability last cycle: the sense by some movement conservatives that the Massachusetts resident was more moderate than he would like Republicans to believe.

"Mitt Romney was rejected by Republican Primary voters because he was a moderate trying to pass himself off as a conservative just in time to win an election," Lonegan said in a statement released by his campaign.

It's the kind of reaction that helped cost him the nomination last cycle - and the sort of response his team would like to banish long before the next race takes shape. But Romney's not counting on immediate rewards on his long journey back to the campaign trail.

"We have plenty of time to decide what the future holds," he told Fox on Sunday. "It's very early, five months into the president's term. We'll see how he does, and we as a party are going to come back stronger, more vibrant, and more committed to following the principles that have always been at the base of our party."

Filed under: Mitt Romney • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (302 Responses)
  1. Lynn

    Perhaps the writers and news celebrities should all chip in and buy a thesaurus and find some new words for "slams" and "blasts". Bets are on that Romney will be the star of John King's three hour Republican lovefest on Sunday.

    Instead of slamming and blasting, why not some clues of what exactly Romney would do differently and a definition of what exactly the Republican "principles" really are. So far I haven't read or heard of one policy out of this man's mouth!

    June 1, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  2. Moderate Democrat

    I thought the GOP was against socialism? You know, military is a HUGE factor of socialist policies. I mean, I thought it was all about the individual. Protect yourself you dirt bags, you got the right to bare arms, just not the right to privacy (thanks GOP dudes, that was so cool taking away our right to privacy).

    While we are at it, let's eliminate Police forces, public education (well, Bush did do that already almost, ALL children were left behind under him), no more paved roads, and all republicans out of office, because we want a smaller government (put your money where your mouth is dirt bags).

    June 1, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  3. suzyku

    Romney's hairspray has gotten into his small brain!

    June 1, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  4. Jimmy Jojo

    Q: What do you call a broken record with a pompadour? (emphasis on the POMP)

    June 1, 2009 01:33 pm at 1:33 pm |
  5. Matt

    "Former Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney took aim at President Obama..."

    Of course he did, he's like every other disaffected right winger who feels they need to take aim at the one who helped further their party into oblivion.

    Romney is in a lose-lose situation anyway. Mark my words, he will NEVER win the presidency because all the "loving" Christians and other zealots that plague the far right of the Republican party would never vote for a Mormon man. Romney can be a sensible guy, but since when is sense, logic, and fact ever part of the far right's mantra?? They rely solely on the voice in their heads and what 'feels right' to them.

    June 1, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  6. Alex

    It's really amazing that the Republicans are touting him as a possible candidate. He is the biggest BS artist in politics today and will say anything to get elected, even denouncing minorities and turning his back on women's rights. A truly despicable person in every way.

    June 1, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  7. renea

    Romey stop trying to score some political points for your party first it was the nominee now its the national security debate again all the republicans want is for the american people to put the focus on national security again so they can score some political points, its not about whether Obama is keeping america safe. Just like Dick Cheney trying to take the focus off of the torture that was committed by their administration. Me for 1 wont be fool by their political schemes.

    June 1, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  8. Marc in Virginia

    Who cares what this bozo has to say? He's not an elected official. He is a wuss, though. He threw in the towel against McCain way early. Oh yeah, Romney, you're a real tough guy.

    June 1, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  9. Roger

    If anyone knows arrogance Mitt does....he speaks from experience..

    June 1, 2009 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  10. sick and tired

    Who in the hell is listening to this loser on foreign and military issues? He has access to nothing he does not know anything about our military and what going on as far as stratagy why in the heck should anybody listen to this has been? So I guess he is trying to become the leader of the republician party? If you ask me this is one spineless clown

    June 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  11. Devon Cloud

    Just one more reason why the Republican Party is losing more and more ground... After 8 years straight of this "tough" policy of race waring and intimidation tactics making things worse instead of better and creating more enemies (or at the very least creating hatred among the peoples of those countries becuase of our arrogant and intimidating "Your with us or against us" stance), here they are, promoting their strongest candidate for next election so far wanting to bring those same policies back to life. How deep must they dig the whole they are in? Keep digging, I will gladly fill the whole after you have burried yourself too deep to come out.

    June 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  12. WI Vet

    On every act of the current President you have disagreeed and that is your right. Yet that does not make you right. The American people have spoken loud and clear in the majority that they support our President. You Mr Romey did not win the election, nor did you even place. I am a Vet of to conflicts and now a retired citizen at home enjoying my country. Also I just don't see how you can win a argument bellowing that we should spend more on weapons and fighting everyone outside our walls but not heal, fix & restructure our self to survive.

    Mr. Romey I am an open minded American ( not Dem or Rep.) and I beleive you picked your battle cry poorly.

    June 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  13. JML

    Right more of the same-ol'-republican BS. Will they ever learn or better will they ever admit to doing anything good? Nope!

    June 1, 2009 01:35 pm at 1:35 pm |
  14. billy

    CNN never posts my comments. Guess I am not conservative enough for them.

    Mitt, nice hair. Now shut up and let the adults handle running the world, ok?

    June 1, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  15. skyhouse

    mitt can join cheney in the shut your freakin mouth club. it's amazing how the losers with loser ideas still stand up to remind us all that they are still and always will be losers. what part of almost 70 million votes cast against their loser ideas are they not getting?

    June 1, 2009 01:36 pm at 1:36 pm |
  16. republicans hate america

    YAWN....Mit who?

    June 1, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  17. JasonTN

    Is anybody else tired of the Repubs always saying Obama endangered the United States? Come on. These guys just don't get it. It's like these guys are trapped in the 19th or 20th century.

    June 1, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  18. Simpliticus

    It is difficult to think of FDR's contestants in that period after the onset of the Great Depression. Now, Romney wants to castigate Obama for the need to overcome the poor and belated Republican attempts to destroy this country and Romney wants us to no the fear that he is dredging up for Obama's having to deal with these supposed problems. North Korea isn't that much of a problem that Romney is attempting to exploit. In fact, North Korea's antics is far more pernicious to its immediate COMMUNIST neighbors so Romney's attempts to exploit this matter doesn't wash. He may be one of those guys that history forgets as a contestant in Obama's immediate future much as those historical forgetful contestants for FDR!

    June 1, 2009 01:37 pm at 1:37 pm |
  19. Felonious Monk

    Instead of working together to build a strong America, politicians would rather shoot the country in the foot.

    Why did American's not elect Mitt Romney? Is it because the majority of Americans did not want him as their president.

    The missile defense system is a ruse, it is not a completely functional system at this moment in time. Reagan spent billions on this ruse.

    "President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas." And what exactly has Mitt, or any republican, done for national security? The previous administration really put this nation on shaky ground and endangered us more than any other administration in history. The Bush admin completely took their eyes off of N. Korea and now the republicans have the nerve to say Obama is endangering the country.

    June 1, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  20. Jon

    Funny. For such a committed Christian, Mr. Romney doesn't seem to understand very much about humility. And for all his talk about "strong, bold action" – what exactly did that do for us under the Bush administration? Sometimes it's wise to talk before taking action. If anything else, it gives you more time to figure out what needs to be done.

    June 1, 2009 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  21. truthsayer

    ha!....no one's listening

    June 1, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  22. Moderate Democrat

    Romney said "Arrogant, delusional tyrants can't be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows,"

    Something we can actually trust he's speaking the truth about (every squirrel finds a nut eventually). Romney knows all too well how "Arrogant, delusional tyrants' think, after all, he's part of the biggest club of them around, the GOP.

    June 1, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  23. Truthiswhatweneed

    Romey boy is starting his campaign a little early. Oh yeah Romey, I heard your church had gotton a new revelation, Black people can now join, why think you. "We moving on Up!!!"

    June 1, 2009 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  24. Jayden,FL

    This man needs to shut up seriously!

    June 1, 2009 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  25. Bobby in Kentucky

    Mr. Romney – Pleaae run for President again. Apparent;y, you did not get the message last time. We voted on your ideas.

    June 1, 2009 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
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