Romney: Liberty comes from strength
August 30th, 2011
12:36 PM ET
7 years ago

Romney: Liberty comes from strength

(CNN) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used a speech to veterans Tuesday to chastise President Barack Obama's handling of the military and contrast his leadership style with that of the current commander in chief.

The former Massachusetts Gov. said the U.S. cannot be a leader on the world stage by expecting more from its enemies. American strength, he said, is the "only guarantee of liberty."

"With freedom as our cause, strength is our only sure defense," Romney said before the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention in San Antonio, Texas.

Romney said defense cuts proposed by the White House assume two mistaken beliefs – that the world is becoming a safer place and that America should become a "lesser power."

"It flows from the conviction that if we are weak, tyrants will choose to be weak as well; that if we could just talk more, engage more, pass more U.N. resolutions, that peace will break out," Romney said. "That may be what they think in that Harvard faculty lounge, but it's not what they know on the battlefield."

He pointed specifically to U.S. involvement in Libya, where he said the mission lacked clarity, an oft-repeated Romney refrain from the campaign trail.

"When a president sends our men and women into harm's way, he must first explain their mission, define its success, plan for their victorious exit, provide them with the best weapons and armor in the world and properly care for them when they come home," Romney said. "Anything less is not befitting a great nation."

Rival presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry spoke to the same group Monday and also advocated for the support of servicemen and servicewomen.

But Romney used his business past as evidence he can properly chart the future of the United States, which would include slicing billions from the defense budget.

"Let me tell you, as a conservative businessman who has spent most of his life in the private sector, I look at that kind of inefficiency and bloat and say, 'Let me at it,'" Romney said.

Filed under: 2012 • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (55 Responses)
  1. kilraven

    Mitt Romney speaks with a "forked tongue"! On one hand he is lambasting President Obama regarding proposed cuts to the defense budget, while on the other is talking about slashing billions from the defense budget. Go figure!

    August 30, 2011 12:41 pm at 12:41 pm |
  2. Rudy NYC

    Romney said defense cuts proposed by the White House assume two mistaken beliefs – that the world is becoming a safer place and that America should become a "lesser power."
    Wrong again. Tax payers are tired of buying equipment that the Pentagon has said we do not need, but politicians like you say we do. We are tired of $5000 toilet seats for a field latrine. We would rather cut the Pentagon budget and spend on the VA budget, and re-open some of those facilities that Cheney and the likes of him have closed. Which not only put people out of work, but denied care to our veterans during a time when we were engaged in two major wars.

    Thanks, Mitt, for letting us know that you represent more of the same policies that we had under GWB. The Republican Party hasn't changed with the rise of the Tea Party.

    August 30, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  3. ConservaFASCISTS/TEAliban/TEAhadists

    Willard's comments are wreckless, disrespectful and shows absolutely no respect to the Commander In Chief. This is the President who do did not LIE the country into war. This is the President who is living up to his campaign promises by getting our troops out of Iraq, escalting the Afghanistan war and in the process killing OBL. Not to mention he's liberated a country without putting a single boot on the ground. Not one republican is in the position to criticize this President's foreign policy. Willard must have a had a memory lapse. George W. Bush sent our troops into Iraq and Afghanistan without a clear exit strategy, they did not have the proper armor they needed and the treatment of our vets was subpar prior to Barack Obama becoming President.

    August 30, 2011 12:47 pm at 12:47 pm |
  4. Rick McDaniel

    America needs to stop meddling into the affairs of everyone on the planet.

    Nor do we need our military, everywhere on the planet.

    We need to return to the approach of being strong and ready, and willing to WIN, instead of nation building. We have done enough nation building, for countries that now eat our lunch!

    August 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  5. Bill

    Is this guy still running for president?

    August 30, 2011 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  6. diridi

    this dude is much better in GOP field than those idiots like Perry, Palin, Bachman etc, o.k, It is an open truth....At least he has experience, but where as Perry has no brain, no experience, it is all Obama's mercy money as stimulus, and used for Minimum Wage jobs without any Health care coverage....o.k,

    August 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  7. Republican who supports President Obama

    Liberty comes from saying no to corporate and special interest hijacking our pols. Liberty is saying yes to laws and measures to help the people of this country and not your political party.

    Liberty is about the PEOPLE not about getting votes.

    August 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  8. thomas

    Mitt Romney has five sons , none of whom did any military service !

    And he says Liberty comes from strength , he should say LIBERTY comes from MONEY !


    August 30, 2011 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. maf

    This from Romney is WEAK! Cutting the budget for the military does not correlate with the US being a weakened power. There is huge waste, over the top waste, in each faction of the military. Cutting spending on defense will bring it back in line to a proportionately correct amount of budget funds. Listening to Romney poke at the President, sounds like the GObP are standing behind him pulling the string. The next phrase out of your mouth is. . . the standard carping on the current administration and how bad it is, regardless of expert analysis and opinion to the contrary. NATO mission to Libya, defined, executed and funded! Not ONE American life lost. How is that anything to be slandered!
    Force over Diplomacy. . . GObP bullies! Shame on you!

    August 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  10. Jaywing

    Mitt, you're totally confused on foreign policy and therefore defense policy. Expecting more from our enemies? What the hell are you saying Mitt? Are we supposed to expect less? That's how 9/11 happened, moron - 'cause we "mis-underestimated" our enemy and got caught with our pants down. Your way is the way of Bush, Cheney and Rumsfeld. Your way is what got us blasted by 9/11. Your way is what got us into a war with the wrong people through lies and deceit. Sorry Mitt, your way - the buisnessman way - is what led us to lose 8 Billion dollars in poorly run supply chains to Iraq and Afganistan - 'cause we farmed out our supply chain to contractors instead of letting the miliary run them. Here's a idea Mitt - if you don't know what you're talking about, shut up!

    August 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  11. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "American strength, he said, is the "only guarantee of liberty.""


    The Soviet Union was immensely strong but had very little individual liberty.

    The US needs to be strong enough to defend the country's interests, but no stronger–anything more than that is, to use Romney's words, inefficient.

    August 30, 2011 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  12. C. Howe Yulikit

    Romney is a complete tool. Thank goodness he will never become President.

    August 30, 2011 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  13. JP

    Neither of these bozos has a clue. Born on third, thinks he hit a triple.

    August 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  14. Democrat Class Warfare - Destroying the economy, destroying the country

    re-open some of those facilities that Cheney and the likes of him have closed.
    A Vice President closing facilities??? Seriously, where do you get this nonsense?

    during a time when we were engaged in two major wars.
    THREE WARS, please don't forget the Illegal Obama War for Libyan Oil.

    for letting us know that you represent more of the same policies that we had under GWB.
    Don't you mean the NUMEROUS policies of George Bush that Obama has continued (even though he campaigned against them)???

    August 30, 2011 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  15. Matthew

    Strenght is not in you. Mittens cant even fight back against the cowboy. He is beyond a coward when it comes to Perry. Perry, NOT A MORMAN! Where do I get that bumper sticker?

    August 30, 2011 01:03 pm at 1:03 pm |
  16. gmccyclist

    I find any of Romney's comments about the military lame. Both he and Perry are of the age group that was a part of the first draft lottery in December of 1969. Both had lottery numbers high enough to avoid being drafted into the military. Romney chose to pursue a lucrative business career. Perry voluntarily served in the Air Force and was smart enough to become a pilot and serve his country.

    August 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  17. Julie

    Tell Bin Laden that President Obama does not know how to be Commander in Chief. Tell it to the Libyans, who by the way started out as weak. If the president was McCain we would be flat out in a 3rd war when we can't pay for the ones we are in. Barack Obama is the only grown-up running for president and the only on with experience at being the Commander in Chief. So when all the GOP candidates are talking about who has the most experience – remember that would be President Obama.

    August 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  18. Henry Miller, Libertarian

    "Not to mention he's liberated a country without putting a single boot on the ground."

    Is the antecedent of the "he" in that sentence supposed to be Obama?

    Sorry, but "he" didn't do anything but go along with a NATO operation.

    The attempts on the parts of various people to take credit on behalf of Obama for things like the killing of bin Laden and events in Libya verge on the pitiful. In both cases, Obama merely endorsed the plans others had conceived and executed–trying to give him credit for "liberating Libya" is like trying to give Harry Truman credit for winning WW II.

    August 30, 2011 01:06 pm at 1:06 pm |
  19. al in memphis

    'Let me at it,'" Romney said.

    Why doesn't someone let Romney have his TOUR of the White House so we can get his obsession about being in the oval office over with. Perhaps he needs to do some historical research about the military prowlness of the Soviet Union that eventually failed because it could not feed it people. The communist people could not eat military weapons and neither will anyone else.

    August 30, 2011 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  20. JD in Moraga, CA

    Evidently Mitt believes that "might makes right." And as for "putting our men and women into harm's way" did he not get the memo that there were no US troops on the ground in Libya? Can he be so willfully blind?

    August 30, 2011 01:10 pm at 1:10 pm |
  21. Debra From Georgia

    This is coming from the man whose strength lies in firing people.

    August 30, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  22. VAL

    Mitt Romney don't know what his talking about. He must have an early stage of DEMENTIA.

    August 30, 2011 01:11 pm at 1:11 pm |
  23. Sebastian Kent

    I've worked in the Defense Indsutry. I've led businesses which design & build major weapon systems. I know how much waste, inefficiency and total LACK of ACCOUNTABILITY there is DOD procurement.

    There are a bunch of US corporations that have gotten rich by instilling FEAR in the American people. There has been a tremendous transfer of wealth from the general taxpayer to these privaledges subset.

    Romney is like every other Republican politician. He can't bring himself to have the courage to call out wasteful spending on weapons. When a company like Lockheed has been selected to build a weapon system, say the F-22 Raptor, they are not held accountable for first UNDERBIDDING the job and then OVERRUNNING the estimate. They get paid for every dollar of expense they incur. They have ZERO business risk. Plus they get profit on top of that. It's a guaranteed flow of income NO MATTER how they perform.

    It is not capitalism; it's WELFARE. This is not like Toyota overruning the production costs on the next Camry. In that case, Toyota takes it on the chin if they don't manage their activities well. Lockheed or Boeing, or Raytheon or Northrop or General Dynamics srews up and some Yahoo like Romney says pay them more.

    You want to impress me Romney? Be a smart enough executive to see the problem and be MAN ENOUGH to propose a solution. Aren't you suppose to be the "free-market, capitalism, to the victor-go-the-spoils" guy? Well, where is the accountability?

    August 30, 2011 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |

    Yeah, okay. The Obama administration policies suck so bad that Libyans over threw their dictator without one American soldier dying. Say anything to get elected, eh, Mitt?

    August 30, 2011 01:13 pm at 1:13 pm |
  25. John

    Romney's remarks amount to posing. Obama has shown plenty of strength. He brought down Osama bin Laden, which his predecessors were unable to do, and he made all the riskiest decisions about how to do it himself. And his policy in Libya has worked brilliantly. Romney thinks he can make people believe his lies if he repeats them often enough or loud enough.

    August 30, 2011 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
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