November 14th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
8 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. dwight huth

    Typical conservative attempt at setting the Democrat's up for failure. If memory serve's wasn't Rumsfeld the one who wouldn't give the troops the armor plating they needed for the hummer's and other vehicles? Isn't Rumsfeld a Conservative Republican like Romney is? The vehicles have been uprated and redesigned and have decreased the total number of deaths and fatalities by more then half. What ever spin doctoring Romney and Conservative's are trying to spin on the Democrat's trying to make it look like the problem is the Democrat's when the problem originated with the Republican's can go to show that the Republican's are nothing more then lay the blame on the Democrat's when the Republican's during the Middle East crisis of the 80's had the chance to take care of the terrorists situation, but declined to not deal with the terrorist's and continued to allow them to blow up Marines that slept in the barracks, take airliners hostage ect, just so some movie maker could produce movies and media reports.

    The real person to blame is Howard Hughes the person who invited movie making and wanted the world for himself without giving any consideration to the affects that it would have caused.

    November 14, 2009 03:13 pm at 3:13 pm |
  2. Rob ..from Massachusetts

    Mitt Romney's believes in, and wears, magical underwear.

    No matter how hard he may try to exude credibility, ultimately, he can never be President solely because of his outlandish religious beliefs.

    I truly doubt he will ever hold any elected office, outside of Utah, ever again.

    November 14, 2009 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  3. danel

    If Romney really serious about protecting troops in Afghanistan why can't he send his 6 sons to fight over there? It is easy for him to send somebody else's sons and daughters and not his sons. You are losing your credibility Romney, put up or shut up.

    November 14, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  4. Tom R

    How are those magic underwear working out for you, Mitt?

    November 14, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  5. GOP sucks!

    Another war monger!

    November 14, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  6. Bob of Lompoc

    And of course, he is a Military Expert, having served in – ah, what branch of the service was that ? Oh wait, he was too busy pledging for his fraternity at the U S R R G, the University of Sons Of Republican Rich Guys. What useless baggage this pretty boy creep has become.

    November 14, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  7. Lorita

    Sad to say, but when it comes to Obama and Afghanistan, I agree with Romney and McCain. Obama is too nambypamby when it comes to making decisions that will affect the western world forever. Wake up America. Religious freedom is at a premium.

    November 14, 2009 03:17 pm at 3:17 pm |
  8. once upon a horse

    somehow I think NOT sending the troops in to possibly be KILLED is protecting them but for some reason the GOP doesn't see it that way. I guess they just aren't used to having a president that takes time to think things over and look at all options before sending more troops into harms way. And everytime I have heard him say this to troops they cheer. If President Obama made the decision to send more men and women over there and the death toll starts to rise, the far right that wants him to do this will abandon him and deny that is what they really wanted, and you know that's the truth there Mitt.

    November 14, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  9. john j. grimes

    I thought that Mitt Romney did a fine job as Governor of my state but he should keep very quiet with regard to protecting our troops. It was his party that put our troops in harms way and since neither he nor any of his sons have ever served in our military, silence should be observed.
    I get a bit upset at all of these people who want to send our soldiers all over the world to fight & die yet when they could have served, military or other national service, they chose not to & stayed home.

    November 14, 2009 03:18 pm at 3:18 pm |
  10. Simmy

    He wants to be president so bad he can taste it........Maybe someone should buy him a cake with the word 'president' written on it....Tha'ts as close as he's gonna get to P of the USA.

    November 14, 2009 03:19 pm at 3:19 pm |
  11. ender

    First Obamas doing too much.

    Then hes not focusing enough on this.

    Then that.

    Then he hasn't solved all the problems the republicans created over the past 8 years during his first 10 months in office. Or fulfilled every single campaign promiss in that same timeframe.

    They cry about fical restraint, but wish unlimited funding for the things they wish to see done. For the things THEY feel are the only important things.

    They cry about the need for smaller government after creating the largest expansion of government in history.

    What a joke.

    November 14, 2009 03:21 pm at 3:21 pm |
  12. Margaret

    Screw you Romney!

    'Romney has been a constant critic of the Obama administration.' That's for sure! That's all you've got Romney! Attacks on Obama.

    What would Romney know about dealing with a war? Has he or any of his many sons been in the military? NO!!

    Telling Obama to "focus"? Now that's some ego he's got there!

    November 14, 2009 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  13. Thomas

    I might be interested if Romney were the POTUS. But since he isn't, who cares? Romney is just another unemployed politician. A degree in English and an MBA/law degree does not make him an authority on foreign relations.

    November 14, 2009 03:29 pm at 3:29 pm |
  14. DCTWMT

    Just another Republican piece of dirt......

    November 14, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  15. victim of republican greed

    For 8 years, Bush did not have a strategy in Afghanistan, but Mr. Mittens is now concerned. There are only a few dozen al-Qaida in Afghanistan, and most people are not sure of necessity of 40,000 more troops which will cost billions of dollars. Obama did send 20,000 troops in March while Bush dithered on that request for 8 months.

    Maybe Sarah will give Romney a shout out, so he won't feel left out.

    November 14, 2009 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  16. Jim

    And what does Romney know about military operations and war?

    There is one thing Obama does know that Romney doesn't: how to lead a successful presidential campaign.

    Enough with the back seat driving.

    November 14, 2009 03:31 pm at 3:31 pm |
  17. tigerakabj

    Romney, Obama inherited (among other mess) this one BIG MESS from George W. Bush, the last president, the last REPUBLICAN president.

    Maybe Obama wants to figure out every option possible, especially in conjunction with the Afghanistan's regional neighbors like China, Pakistan, etc. Maybe Obama doesn't want to make rash decisions about war like Bush did in Iraq (where are those WMDs?).

    These neo-con war-mongers will say, "Obama, hurry up on this war." Then say, "Obama slow down so we can read the bill on healthcare. We've had 60 years of healthcare discussion, why the rush?"

    If these folks and their network (Fox News) actually applauded Obama for anything, I would start worrying.

    November 14, 2009 03:33 pm at 3:33 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    Sure, Obama has had 10 months to devise a strategy, but Mitt and the RepubliCONS had 7 years! Mitt, go back to selling cars you douchebag.

    November 14, 2009 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. Tommygunn


    He is easy for a POLITICIAN to make such silly statements with no REAL FLESH in the WAR. Somewhat like Hanity when he stated he could do a WATERBOARD process, then backed down after he was challenged.


    November 14, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. Perusing-through


    Bush-Cheney-Rove (BCR) went into Afghanistan with a great U.S. military force but executed the war on Rumsfeld's shoe-string budget. BCR never caught bin Laden, and 'temporarily' chased Al Queda and the Taliban across the border; while allowing the war to meander for 8-years as BCR redirected limited U.S. troops and resources to Iraq.

    Where was HYPOCRITICAL Romney criticism for the past 8-years?

    November 14, 2009 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  21. Donkey Party

    By the way CNN, I'm sure I'm not the only one that has noticed you allow comments when there is something negative said about the President, bit close the comments where there is real debate. You are getting as bad as Cluster Fox News.

    November 14, 2009 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  22. dan smith

    It's about time someone called Obama to the carpet for his Deraliction of duty to the service men and women. It is absolutely outrageous that he hasn't come up with a strategy on sending more troops to help in Afghanistan.

    November 14, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. German,Irish American

    Unfortunately, the MSM was so intent on electing an exceptionally gifted teleprompter reader, and young ,good looking extremist liberal to President, they neglected to report on how utterly unqualified Obama was. He had NEVER, in his life, had ANY experience in what it takes to be a leader and govern. The United States is now paying the price, in some cases in the military where he is costing our soldiers their lives, for electing such an uninformed man who surrounds himself with radical left-wing extremists to the highest office in the world. I've lived through the administrations of ten Presidents, and I have never been so fearful of the direction of this country as I am now.

    November 14, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  24. K in FLorida

    This criticism that Romney seems to dish out with impunity is bording on TREASON.....

    Do we Americans really think ANY republican has the best interest of the Country at heart, or is it that they are driven by the next election cycle....?

    I think we all no the answer to that, President Obama is the PRESIDENT, not Mitt Romney, not Sarah Palin, Not Rush Limbaugh, or any of the other Republican Nut Cases.....

    And as far as the Troops are concerned, they were put in Harms way by the Bush Administration, I recall a certain request for troops for Afghanistan submitted by the Generals when George W. was still in office, this request sat for months without being addressed, where was Mitt Romney then....?

    November 14, 2009 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  25. Reggie

    This guy is a joke. Republicans supported and engaged these troops in the war against false terror based on lies. Now because he is obsessed with being president, he deems it necessary to criticize our now president. People are so weak and only care about money and power. Isn't Romney a pastor...he should know that true leaders lead by action not mere words. How can Obama be pro-active and quick to come to conclusions on topics that he never supported. He has to make well thought out and informed decisions based on facts.

    Folks like Romney are mere corporate thugs trying to get their pictures taken merely for publicity stunts. Get a life Romney, and join every other rational person that is faced with tough decisions that cannot be made overnight. If this guy is ever chosen to lead our nation heaven forbid what depths of manure he might get us entrenched in.

    November 14, 2009 03:39 pm at 3:39 pm |
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