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. Joe in Austin

    has already started his negative campaign

    June 1, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  2. RR

    The only person arrogant and delusional is Mr Romney.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |

    Mitt Romney paid for every single voted he got. Did he have to pay people to come listen to his speech? He is pathetic, and so is the entire party. Poor ole GOP.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  4. PJ

    The Nation's defense budget – the LARGEST in the World, and MUCH larger than Russia and China combined- has $300 BILLION in cost overruns- WASTE- every single year!!!! That is OVER 50% of the ENTIRE DOD BUDGET!!! Romney is a paid off puppet of military contractors and has no business being in an elected office. You could cut the DOD budget in half and the ONLY ones who will suffer are campaign contributors and lobbyists in government. Romney's already been bought and paid for in full.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  5. lema

    Mitt,go to sleep already.you are irrelvant just like your crazy party

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  6. GOP = 21st century dodo

    Mitt Romney got a perfect score on his SATs and graduated at the top of his class at Harvard Law AND Harvard Business School.

    Why someone of his intellect continues to kowtow to a party that's come to be controlled and defined by its stupidest demographic is something I cannot understand.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  7. Rob

    It doesn't matter that the defense budget has been short changed and that is not questionable because it doesn't matter to Obama! It doesn't even matter that Obama has mortgaged the country to China because it doesn't matter to Obama! It does however matter to Obama that Israel stop settlements in the West Bank. And back home we have an assortment of Czars to mind everyone's business.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  8. Debra from Georgia

    Go away already. You loss your bid for POTUS, go away Miffed Romney

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  9. Erin

    Well, I think it's about time someone stepped up and apologized for the way we, as a country, have acted for the past 8 years. Talk about arrogant and delusional!

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  10. Jeff

    Go Romney '12. We need a leader who will think about the long term consequences of fiscal decisions.

    June 1, 2009 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  11. Boisepoet

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

    Sometimes they are stopped by elections; the Republican party comes to mind...

    Speaking of stopping tyrants...sounds like you are rattling that ol' Republican 'gotta use the war thing on them bad guys' saber.

    So hey Romney, any members of your family join up yet?
    Mmmmm, how about some biscuits and gravy with that helping of chickenhawk?

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  12. Tom

    Typical GOP two-step shuffle. Obama never "apologized". Show me one quote were he used the words "sorry", "apologize". All Obama did was point out the truth that the USA had made some mistakes or acted arrogantly and independently of the rest of the world. In all cases, he also called out the world and Europe for "their mistakes" as well.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  13. So Obvious

    Seems like Mitt carefully chose the words "Tour of Apology" to try to cover up the fact that Mitt's tour to save the Republican Party was a failure.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  14. joe

    way to go mitt. I'm sure all these idiot liberals are sure to get on here and start bashing. Funny thing is most liberals are worthless pieces of crap who would rather sit around collecting govt checks and watching soap's then getting off their lazy asses and doing something productive. But then again its the new cool thing to be a piece of crap.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  15. felicia

    I still wouldn't vote for mit rompy, i'm tired of white men tearing down this world, beacause that's exactly what has happened. Now all of a sudden everything's President Obama's fault i don't think so. Some of you honkies need to get a clue.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  16. Tim

    Romney couldn't get fellow republicans to vote for him in the primaries. Why should anyone listen to him now?

    Mitt Romney is just as brainwashed as his dad, former Governor of Michigan, George Romney.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  17. dickson peter

    Mitt Romey has not realised that he was not chosen as the presidential candidate of his party during the last elections not to talk of been a president. We have an elected president and he should respect him as every body's president. Romey is not the president and therefore does not have the security briefing the president has; he should therefore keep his mouth shut when it comes to state security matters.

    June 1, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  18. matt

    Israel will never listen to Obama and divide its land Bethlahem the city of David and Nablus, Hebron are jewish towns thousands of years before the arabs came into that land. Jews have been prescuted and tortured killed for thousands of years and bibi and Israel will never listen to Messiah Obama

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  19. Al-NY,NY

    thanks Mutt, er Mitt. I guess you'd be pushing the button to send missles into N Korea, Iran, etc, you chicken hawk blowhard. Just because the new president doesn't posture and act like a complete idiot in his "cowboy dipomacy" clothes doesnt mean he is apologizing. And why can't a president admit that mistakes have been made in the past? Why? Because according to the GOP, American never has made a mistake and never will because we are the almighty on earth and have the right to dictate to every other nation on Earth on how to live. Total baloney. Go back to the rock you crawled under. Next up on the GOP criticism parade....the Lipstick Fido from Alaska. I cannot wait to hear her drivel. The GOP is quickly turning itself into the biggest laughingstock ever, and I could not be happier!!

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  20. Bob C

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

    You are absolutely right Governor Romney: earnest words and furrowed brows will not stop Dick Cheney.

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  21. Don Beal

    speak softly...

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  22. Shirley In California Now On The Fence Re Obama

    I voted for him and I am slamming him too. Until he does something for ALL the support he received from black voters, I hope he keeps getting slammed. The time is going to come when black leaders are going to start calling him out and he won't be able to keep avoiding them. Then, he will be forced to address these issues. I never thought I would say it but I can't stand the sight of him anymore. He was totally disrespectful during his search of candidates for the SC. He has paid everyone back except us and I don't appreciate it.

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  23. Michele

    For goodness sakes, it's going to be more than an apology when the rape photos authorized by Bush and Cheney are released. We will be lucky if we aren't attacked because we did such heinous things to innocent people. There is a good reason torture is banned: it does not garner useful information, and it tends to anger the country the tortured is from.
    But Mitt, I guess the Republicans still think they can bank on the fears of your BASE, who are buying up guns and ammo at record speed, because you all tell them Obama will ban their idiotic guns. Was the guy who killed the doctor listening to you too? How about the men who have shot their families lately? Keep instilling fear, but the blood is on your hands when the armed BASE among us takes to the streets in your, Rush's, Hannity's and Beck's names.

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  24. Chris W

    Does anyone care what these retread Republicants says about anything? I sure don't. And I don't see how their constant criticism of our new president helps our country or demonstrates patriotism either. The party of no was voted out of the office. Now shut up and go away. Please.

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  25. I can see Canada from my house!

    Mitt is saying real leadership comes from strong decisive action: is he including his own retreats and flip-flops on positions such as abortion and gay rights, actions he took to impress conservative primary voters? Your speaking engagements are your own Tour of Apology to the conservatives who trashed your morals, principles and your faith. Sorry Mitt, but your missionary tour of the French countryside at the height of the Viet Nam War does not qualify you to sit in the Oval Office.

    June 1, 2009 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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