Kerry takes aim at Romney over Iran
March 6th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
6 years ago

Kerry takes aim at Romney over Iran

(CNN) – Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts unleashed some harsh words Tuesday against his state's former governor turned two-time GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee blasted Romney's op-ed in the Washington Post Tuesday in which the candidate sharply criticized President Barack Obama's policies toward Iran and labeled him the most "feckless" president since President Jimmy Carter.

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"While Obama frets in the White House, the Iranians are making rapid progress toward obtaining the most destructive weapons in the history of the world," Romney wrote in the op-ed.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Kerry lambasted the article, saying it was "as inaccurate as it was aggressive."

He particularly took issue with Romney's characterization of Obama as an incompetent leader and pointed to the killing of Osama bin Laden last year as the president's crowning achievement.

"George W. Bush may have said 'wanted dead or alive' but it was President Obama who delivered it," Kerry said. "I don't know if Governor Romney has checked the definition of the word feckless lately, but that raid ain't it."

The senator also argued Romney and other Republican presidential candidates were using the simmering Iran-Israel tension as a ploy to appeal to conservative voters on the campaign trail.

"I don't think that we should allow Iran to become another party's applause line on the presidential stump," Kerry said.

While Romney did not specifically spell out the kind of military action he would take in Iran, the candidate said he would complement diplomacy "with a military option that will persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions."

He also threatened to "act alone if we must" on "ever-tightening sanctions."

But Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, described Romney's rhetoric as irresponsible.

"Talk of war only helps Iran at this moment and others by increasing the price of Iranian crude oil that pays for its nuclear program," he said. "To create false differences with the president just to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course."

Romney's op-ed came the same day he and two other Republican candidates-Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich-spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., and two days after Obama made his remarks to the powerful lobby group.

In his first press conference of the year, Obama echoed Kerry's sentiments and targeted the Republican candidates for using Iran as a campaign topic.

"When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. I'm reminded of the decision that I have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy," Obama said. "This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it."

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Filed under: 2012 • AIPAC • Iran • Israel • John Kerry • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    He also threatened to "act alone if we must" on "ever-tightening sanctions."

    Then I say LET HIM ACT ALONE. Let HIM go out and die. What a fool he is and this is one of the MANY reasons he will NEVER be president. He's a classless, useless, coward who hides behind religion when convenient. On the other hand you have John Kerry who IS a war hero and has EARNED the RIGHT to speak on war unlike the Mormon who has five healthy good for nothing sons who think YOUR sons and daughters should go out and die so they can keep their freedom and lifestyles. UnAmerican traitors.

    March 6, 2012 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Skokie

    Thank you Mr President for your kind words "War is not a game and there is nothing casual about it".

    March 6, 2012 05:28 pm at 5:28 pm |

    The current GOP candidates ARE the definition of feckless with Mr. Flip Flop Romney leading the vacuous pack.

    March 6, 2012 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  4. Skokie

    Mr Romney I would support you going to war if you place Tagg, Matt, Josh, Ben and Craig on the front line.

    March 6, 2012 05:33 pm at 5:33 pm |
  5. Just Say No To Flipper

    Rmoney knows nothing about foreign policy. Remember all that wonderful private sector "experience" he and his delusional LSD groupies spout? NONE of it involved foreign policy.

    March 6, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  6. Romney is not My Hero

    @ Woman in California – You're MY Hero!

    March 6, 2012 05:35 pm at 5:35 pm |
  7. connieb

    Well said, Woman in California.

    March 6, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  8. Charlie from the North

    Dear Mitt,

    Why don't you strap Sanatorium to your roof, drive to Canada and don't bother coming back.

    March 6, 2012 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. " Obama said. "This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it."
    My President has spoken.

    Obama 2012

    March 6, 2012 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  10. Mikey

    These idiotic Republicans criticizing the President and making provocative saber-rattling statements are like drunks at a football game yelling at the players on the field and shouting for them to fight any time there's some sort of altercation. It's easy to mouth off from the cheap seats.

    March 6, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  11. Bootstomper

    Hey Mitt let the army from Utah fight in the middle east.

    March 6, 2012 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  12. PJ/TX

    Senator Kerry is absolutely right. Romney's use of the word "feckless" is as demeaning as you can get and very
    offensive. There is a side to Romney that is very disturbing, to say the least.
    Efraim Halevy, fomer head of Israeli Intelligence, the Mossad and former head of the Israeli National
    Security Council said that Romney's op-ed piece was dangerous. He said Romney's words gave the
    Iranians a time table, alerting them to the fact that they may have only 9 months to acquire a nuclear
    bomb, because of Romney's shallow threats.
    This is what scares me about all of the Republican candidates (except Paul). They are willing to
    jeopardize any peaceful solution to this volatile situation. They make hollow promises, totally unaware of
    what is going on behind the scenes and what President Obama is working on to save us from war.
    They are not in a position to make judgements, yet they do with their shallowness, and self-serving
    comments. They are not ready to lead America.

    March 6, 2012 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  13. Brandy

    The candidates know nothing about foreighn policy and yet three of them stated they will go to war with Iran even before knowing all the facts. Let the President take care of the matter

    March 6, 2012 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  14. BeverlyNC

    Amen – these idiot Republicans making statements they cannot back up or have to take responsibility for is easy when they know nothing about the situation. Like President Obama said – war is not a game – and you do not just decide to go bomb somebody with such disregard for the consequences. Romney shows his total lack of understanding of foreign policy, how to run a nation responsibly, and what war means. He never served although he was eligible so he is nothing but a chickenhawk war monger who has no clue what war means, what sacrifices are made, how much it costs, and who gets hurt – it certainly would not be him or his sons. He would hide them from service.
    You tell them President Obama – you are the Commander in Chief who has being dealing with the Bush wars and you know war is not a punch line used for political games.
    Romney is not qualified for any office and never has been. How many times will he run for President before he realizes no one wants him or trusts him?

    March 6, 2012 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  15. Debbie

    Romney calling Obama feckless is silly. He's proven his has a high sense of responsibility, is not lazy, he is not incompetent and his foreign policy has not been futile. Bush promised Osama and gave up. Obama got Osama. What might be considered feckless are Romney's 5 sons having no sense of responsibility to sign up and put their behinds on the line. For all those brave soldiers that died, were injured, or life long injuries I thank you. And to Romney and sons? You are gutless.

    March 6, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  16. Just Say No To Flipper

    In fairness to Rmoney, I realize I mistakenly stated his much-lauded "experience' did not include foreign policy. I must now correct my statement having recalled the no doubt life-altering work he did as a missionary in France. I realize now he probably consulted with French military experts, or at least spoke to a former soldier he was trying to recruit to his church. Which of course would make him just as qualified to spout his nonsense as Newter and Mr. Frothy.

    March 6, 2012 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
  17. JDinTexas

    What is Romney going to do? Send a bunch of Mormons on bicyles to Tehran? That's how Romney chose to the Vietnam war. As soon as your sons enlist in the Marines Mr. Romney, we will listen to what you have to say about war.

    March 6, 2012 06:05 pm at 6:05 pm |
  18. cali girl

    My oh my, woman in cali, domi mama the real you, skokie, romney not my hero, connieb, dave, and all the rest today who stood up and said we believe our President, just say no to war with Iran. There are many groups of smart people (cia, intel, military, middle east professors, generals, foreign affairs advisors) who all work together to make these decisions. And the party of no and their followers would have you think we just need to bomb, baby, bomb. When all you supporters of that have years of knowledge over foreing issues, only then should you spout your mantra.

    March 6, 2012 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  19. Romney is not My Hero

    PRESIDENT Obama said "I'm reminded of the costs involved in war." Yes, there are many costs to war – we should know after 10 YEARS of losing our valued men and women.

    OBAMA 2012! -- Mr. Rob-me is an idiot.

    March 6, 2012 06:11 pm at 6:11 pm |
  20. roya1230

    Will Mr. Romney send his sons to the war front, or his war mongering agenda is only for my sons who are currently in Afghanistan?

    March 6, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  21. Dominican mama 4 Obama (the real one)

    The GOP, and their nominees in their quest for the White House have already proven beyond the shadow of a doubt that they are willing to do ANYTHING to gain it. They have cold-bloodedly stood by with their arms folded praying that the economy would spiral into a full-blown Depression. The have hooted and hollered with glee at the unemployment rate, and reneged on their promise to get JOBS for Americans. They have supported the death of an entire industry, versus helping to save it even if that meant that related commerce would go down the toilet with it. They've fought tooth and nail to preserve the tax cuts to the wealthy at the expense of increases for the middle class. They stalled, and reneged, and made incredibly unsensible demands until they downgraded our country's credit rating for the first time in history. They are fighting in the courts against women's rights to contraceptions, and people's rights to health insurance.
    Now, their eyes light up with the possibility of Iran creating helter-skelter and possibly putting us in yet another military conflict of major proportions.
    These people are nuts, and evil. Mormon and Catholics alike. And this is who some of you want for President? You must really hate America.
    Obama 2012. Seriously America.

    March 6, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  22. Alex

    Osama-dead, GM-alive. Go Obama.

    March 6, 2012 06:31 pm at 6:31 pm |
  23. Randy, San Francisco

    Romney, the Great Flip Flopper, is showing he lacks the character and integrity to be president. Even Ron Paul thinks reckless statements by his rivals on Iran are damaging to the USA.

    March 6, 2012 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  24. chrisnot

    US Army.., 10/66-9/69. 95B40. The very, very last thing you want is a war. Iraq and Afghanistan were started 10 years ago, give or take, by someone who had virtually no idea of what was to unfold.., this disaster really was predictable. Pres. Obama recognizes the extreme possibility of massive "unintended consequences". Believe me, the commitment, dedication and unparalled intensity of purpose of the folks in the Middle East is admirable and nothing to be trifled with. Don't believe me? Iraq is rapidly folding up within itself.., they might have been better off with Saddam; they did have electricty, then. Afghanistan will self destruct.., is already self destructing in spite of the intervention of the civilized world.

    Do we really think we can afford to add another Middle East merit badge to our fading uniform?

    March 6, 2012 06:42 pm at 6:42 pm |

    Romney is really clueless isn't he!

    March 6, 2012 06:56 pm at 6:56 pm |
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