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. Tom in Avon Park, FL

    Mitt needs to stop criticizing our president in time of war. He is a traitor to the country.

    November 14, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  2. Kay

    When I read this kind of statement It makes me thnk of campaigning and putting down the opponent. Let's support the President !

    November 14, 2009 02:42 pm at 2:42 pm |
  3. Linda Mc

    It's a shame Romney wasn't invited to all the meetings at the Whitehouse the President was having on the new game plan for the war in Afghanistan, otherwise he would know what was going on, and could tell a true story instead of making things up to get a rise out of his base. This is a problem so many Americans have with Republican chatter. They talk to each other, instead of listening to what's really going on and reporting on that. Disagree u may, but don't be making things up to suit the agenda!

    November 14, 2009 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  4. Aunt Bea and Opie

    When our records got this scratched and started skipping we chucked them in the trash can.This guy just cant smell the coffee.Time to fly back to Uteville in your magic shorts.hahaha

    November 14, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  5. victim of republican greed

    How can Mitt be so irresponsible? He is a clueless empty suit who uses our troops to get recognition and is completely out of touch with reality.

    Mitt will never be as credible as Sarah.

    November 14, 2009 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  6. Florence

    Romney will only take back what he said in 2012? He is famous for flip-flopping, just ask McCain.

    November 14, 2009 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  7. Mickey

    Romney is another GOP enabler with a severe mental disorder.

    November 14, 2009 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  8. S M R

    How can Mitt give Any opinion when he has no intelligence report on the situation? This guy is a citizen like Palin and both should take my advise and SHUT UP!!!

    November 14, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  9. Wrong again Mitt.(Silverspoon)

    Wrong again Mitt,

    For such a kind sweet billionaire, you sure dont think very much.

    Do you pay someone to do that for you? Well at least youre giving someone a job, least you could do, after what the Neo-con Republicans have done to the rest of us.

    Listen here, Silver spoon, do you mind if I call you "Silverspoon", its all about protecting troops, the ones that are there now, and the ones to come.......its called critical analysis, not the Republican method of "hell, lets just throw money and young Americans at the problem.

    Get it? Silverspoon?

    November 14, 2009 02:47 pm at 2:47 pm |
  10. Austin

    Mr Romney...You stated "The President has been in office for 10 months and doesn't have a strategy". I think you need to be reminded that Republican Bush started the war without a strategy and was in office for 7 years of the war and NEVER developed a strategy. People in glass houses need not throw stones my friend.

    November 14, 2009 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  11. What????

    Give it up Mr Flip flop, go with the flow, say whatever I need to say to get elected. Why don't you ask one of your sons, no wait, all of them to enlist?

    November 14, 2009 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  12. Fan of Common Sense

    If the republican primary voters would have had enough sense to nominate this guy last year instead of the guy the media shoved down their throats, Obama would not be destroying our military and our economy right now.

    November 14, 2009 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  13. Ray

    This guy is a phony

    November 14, 2009 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  14. 60's survivor

    jeesh. these chest pounders never quit. he looks inadequate to me!

    November 14, 2009 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  15. sensible Cape Coral FL

    Romney obviously has trouble with intelligent people who THINK their way through problems not react or over-react as has been the process for the past eight years. In criticizing President Obama, Romney is saying more about himself than about the President.

    November 14, 2009 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  16. mike

    Romney needs to stop with the back seat Presidenting. He would not have any better decisions than President Obama. I heard nothing from him that makes me thing he would have made a better leader. republicans have been bithing for ten months but offers no solutions. President Obama has been in office for less than a year and the problems left have been worsening for ten years. When the house you brought needs a new foundation, drywall, windows, ect.. and in order to make it lviable a little bit of everything needs to be done all at once. That is the country the President Obama took over.

    November 14, 2009 02:59 pm at 2:59 pm |
  17. Jeremiah the Prophet

    Is this nut job Romney serious? I mean really folks come on now.

    I was an Active Duty Service Member under the Administration of Bush, and nothing to me was more fundamentally an indication that the previous so called President cared nothing for us than him sending us into war in some cases with zero ammunition, half our Nuclear, Biological, and Chemical (NBC) gear, no body armor, and no up armored vehicles. But now this Romney character wants to question what this President is doing with troop numbers in Afghanistan? At least the troops are properly trained, funded, and equipped under this President. Where was Romney then?

    This guy is the male version of Sarah Palin. He should go sit down some where and make one of his spoiled rich daddys' kids go serve in harms way (earning their right to be citizens of this country) instead of concentrating on setting himself up politically for another run at the Presidency in 2012!

    November 14, 2009 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  18. maf

    Oh Mitt. . . What planet are you on???

    President Obama has so much on his plate and is being "focussed" on many things, the least of which is trying to do what you want him to do.
    He is spending a great deal of time trying to extricate the US of A out of a Republican cluster**** which is Afghanistan, an illegal war in Iraq and the Health Care debacle.

    Mitt in 2012 – HA!

    November 14, 2009 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  19. george

    I can't help to keep on believing that Obama is really a Muslim born in Kenya, and educated with the kuran.
    He does not want to fight or antagonize the taliban.

    November 14, 2009 03:05 pm at 3:05 pm |
  20. terry

    Let's be clear that Romney and the other wacko offer criticism and not solution. His anti-american rethoric serves only divide this country at a time that he calls a critical time in america. Dont believe for one moment that americans are fooled, not paying attention, but not fooled. You can wrap dog do-do up in an American flag but it still stinks. The American values, defined by the American flag, lends itself to be wrapped in the crisis this country faces and by the unity of a strong american people will prevail through all thats rotten; Even the Romneys, Palins, Becks, Limbaughs, and Hannitys.

    November 14, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  21. Jim

    And Mr. Romney is qualified to comment on Afghanistan for what reason? He has no foreign policy experience himself, avoided military service by going on a "mission" in France to avoid the draft and his so-called business experience is having made a bunch of money in hedge funds.

    The real problem we have in Afghantistan is that the whole operation was neglected for eight years under President Bush and now nothing less than total war can get us out of the quagmire that has developed. And even that has a low chance of working. I think President Obama is right to take his time and formulate an exit strategy before committing more troops.

    November 14, 2009 03:07 pm at 3:07 pm |
  22. Houston Mom

    Yawn. Mitt Who?

    November 14, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  23. Abby

    Does anyone care about Romney's opinion of Obama? He is rejected by his own party. Soon Palin will Scozzafava Romney and he will be persona non grata in the Republican party.

    November 14, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  24. Tom C in NY

    This guy Romney is some piece of work. Hey Mittens, it's very easy to be a monday morning quarterback, but where were your criticisms of Bush for taking his eye off the ball and getting us bogged down in Iraq.

    November 14, 2009 03:09 pm at 3:09 pm |
  25. Michele

    And he opposes health care, opposes abortion in any form, and is for sending more troops to Afghanistan with no plan for it to ever end. Well, Mr. Romney, I oppose YOU, and your Republican whiners who can say nothing good about Obama for fear of angering the unpatriotic conservatives and their wallets. President Obama is running the country; he is turning the economy around; he is being wise and thoughtful about killing more civilians in the Middle East, and sending our precious lives and dollars where they are not wanted and are doing no good.
    And I'm sorry, but how do you know he has no strategy? Are you a Cabinet member? Are you a trusted adviser? No, you are just a complaining Republican who didn't have the courage to stand up when Bush was torturing and taking away our very rights, not to mention spending us into oblivion. So you have no grounds to complain.

    November 14, 2009 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
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