November 14th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
9 years ago

Romney accuses Obama of not protecting troops

Romney delivered a speech in California on Friday night.'

Romney delivered a speech in California on Friday night.'

WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a scathing criticism of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy Friday night, accusing the president of delivering rhetoric and not action in the war-torn country.

Quoting from a speech Obama delivered in March, Romney agreed with the president "that 'we are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies."' Romney continued on seconding the president: "I believe 'that to succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government.'"

But Romney went on to criticize Obama for not holding enough meetings with top generals, and inadequately preparing for the elections in Afghanistan.

"The President has held his job for 10 months but does not yet have a strategy," Romney said during his speech before the Young America's Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. "What has he been doing that is more important than protecting the lives of the troops of which he is Commander-in-Chief? He has been campaigning- rallying at phony town meetings and making over 30 campaign stops for fellow Democrats. This President's inattention and dereliction remind me of those Northwest Airlines pilots who were so distracted from their jobs that they lost their way. But in this case, the consequences are far more severe."

Romney has been a constant critic of the Obama administration. In March, Romney accused the president of neglecting the country's needs, while posing for magazine covers, and making appearances on late night television during an interview with CNN's Larry King.

"This is a president who is learning on the fly," Romney said. "He's never turned anything around before. He hasn't had the experience of leading a nation or a business or a state in trouble. And the first rule I can tell him is focus, focus, focus. "

Since February, Romney has attended nine events for senatorial candidates, appeared at more than a dozen rallies or fundraisers for those running for governor this year or next, and spoken at almost two dozen meetings of Republican Party groups or conservative organizations. And he has finished a new book.

"This is a pivotal time in the history of our country," Romney said at his political action committee's office.
As the Republican Party searches for ways to rebound and find leaders it can turn to, Romney clearly is trying to position himself to be one of them.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, Romney ranked third in Republicans' choice for a 2012 nominee, behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin; 36 percent had a favorable view of him, while 26 percent had a negative view and 37 percent weren't sure.

If Romney does decide to make another presidential run, he will have accumulated a lot of political capital that can be a crucial asset.

His political action committee, Free and Strong America, has raised more than $2.6 million this year and given out more than $118,000 in contributions, according to financial records and the PAC.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. 30 Year Veteran

    He is not protecting soldiers or is he doing anything except whatever it takes to destroy America. A TERRIOST IN OUR MIDST AT THE HIGHEST LEVEL. HOW MUCH MORE STUPID CAN WE BE.

    November 14, 2009 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  2. jim


    i'm tired of republicans with a bad history trying to point fingers.

    I suggest they look in the mirror first.

    again ... when will republicans just try to be part of the solution rather than continue being part of the problem.

    November 14, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  3. BJK

    and the last line of this story pretty much sums it up..."And he has finished his new book"...... yawn!

    November 14, 2009 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  4. We Won Get Over It

    OH geeeee I am running for president, what can I slur and flame Obama about. Yes yes he isn't protecting the troops. How did bush manage that did he go over there and raise an umbrella.

    The more republicans talk the more common low down their are. Bush and his buddy Cheney are responsible for Afgan and Iraq and the deaths of thousands of our military. And millions of Iraqi.


    November 14, 2009 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  5. Annie, Atlanta

    And Mitt Romney knows this to be a fact because he's well versed in combat strategy, or he's surrounded by a team of expert military advisers, or because he's rich and he says so, or he just wants to be contrary to the President, which is all the Republicans are offering these days, hoping it will win our hearts and our votes, or what? I know, I ran on a bit here. But enough already. Offer something other than criticism, and then we'll talk.

    November 14, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  6. Val in MA

    Good job, Gov. Romney! You Rock!

    Romney 2012!

    November 14, 2009 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  7. Donna from Colorado Springs

    The opinions of someone like Romney are always negative and rarely correct!

    November 14, 2009 02:21 pm at 2:21 pm |
  8. cgillette369

    in this case romney is correct.

    pull the military out of Afghan and stp gettinfg people killed while the white house runs polls.

    November 14, 2009 02:24 pm at 2:24 pm |
  9. Fairplay

    Who cares what this guys thinks? He does not have any new ideas.

    November 14, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  10. C. Farrell, Houston, Tx

    Romney's critizism doesn't meet the standards of one who should ever be in power, especially when our troops are at war. Romney like many others have no inside information of President Obama's discussions with top generals and has no grounds to support what he's say. Romney playing politics for his own self serving interest is one thing, but don't bring our troops and generals into the fold. Romney's political interest would better serve him by helping the split Republican party because he's not high on the list.

    November 14, 2009 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  11. TM

    Newsflash Willard. The markets are higher now that when your hero Bush left office. Just because the recovery is show doesn't mean it isn't happening. If there is anyone that doesn't know how to lead, it would be you Mr. Romney.

    November 14, 2009 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  12. Brad

    Politicians, civilian Americans including media talking heads and average Joes should stop pretending to be armchair Generals and trying to tell President Obama what to do about Afganistan. Especially Republicans who seem to be bent on him following some ill gotten advise so they can bask in him making the wrong decisions, as if he should trust them.

    President Obama should only take advise from those who are
    qualified to advise him, and fellow civillians, IT AIN't US.

    In other words, leave it to the military professionals.

    November 14, 2009 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  13. JJ-Orlando

    Romney is the herman munster of politics. The best way to protect our troops and show them our support is to bring them home.

    November 14, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  14. not alone

    I think Romney like Bush and Chaney would rather have us at war with Iran as well.Big bucks to be made in the war BUSiNESS and after all all those listed above are business men.

    November 14, 2009 02:29 pm at 2:29 pm |
  15. larry

    Romney is so jealous of Obama. He just wishes he had his job.

    November 14, 2009 02:32 pm at 2:32 pm |
  16. Mark

    well waffling for the best personal politics is not best for the troops currently on the ground.

    November 14, 2009 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  17. dave

    Take your dog off your SUV roof.

    November 14, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  18. Desmond

    The guy, Romney, could not get more pathetic if he tried.

    November 14, 2009 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  19. Bring them home or send them help

    That is okay, Obama. I believe I heard that the terrorists there are shooting blanks, not real bullets at all. You take all of the time you need, have dinner, go to Asia, and then sell a few cars when you get back. On healthcare reform, you said, "let's get it done now!" Too bad healthcare reform means more to you than our American soldiers. Too bad healthcare reform will not help the American soldiers who lose their lives over there, while you are "considering your options" over here.

    November 14, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  20. rightsaid

    This guy Romney is such a hack.
    Obama has ten times the intelligence and integrity of this guy.
    Romney sounds like he is just waking up to the moment, this "pivotal time in our history", in time to criticize the guy who is trying to fix our problems. Could Romney try to remember how we got here? No, I didn't think so. That wouldn't be politically expedient.

    November 14, 2009 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  21. Independent

    The burning deal...that is so 60's....wish people would grow up...

    November 14, 2009 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  22. Susan in NC

    Of course, Mitt knows EVERYthing and EVERY thing - what traitorous remarks!

    November 14, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  23. Independent

    Keeping your BIG BUCKS in your pocket Mr. Romney....

    How is that the Republicans forget that it took Bush over 4 months or more to make up his mind on the surge....SHORT MEMORIES????

    November 14, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  24. Mike in Texas

    The last administration had no plan on either Afghanistan or Iraq. Why are we still in Afghanistan 8 years later and Iraq more than 6 1/2 years later? I am sure you have a great plan Mitt. I am sure it won't involve your sons. At least McCain, Palin and Biden's sons served. A huge majority of Americans want us out of Afghanistan Mitt. Once Americans realized these two wars weren't going to be like Desert Storm they aren't as gung ho as they used to be about war.

    November 14, 2009 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  25. Julian E

    Just a little word of advice for flamboyant Roomey: Learn from the history. Speaking in adversarial tone about the the post and duty of President may gain you the staunch support of the Republican base in your goal to clinch the party Presidential normination; however, such rhetorics while common in the political arena, will push away the moderate voters. Getting support of these group of the American electoral block should be your main focus, now.

    November 14, 2009 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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