Washington (CNN) - New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte, an early and ardent backer of Mitt Romney, defended the presumptive GOP nominee against accusations his foreign policy is backwards looking Wednesday, saying critics who label his views reminiscent of the Cold War were wrong.
"I've spent a lot if time with Gov. Romney. I think that he has a strong understanding of foreign policy, and he does not have a Cold War view toward Russia," Ayotte said after delivering a keynote address to a conference examining democracy in Russia.
– Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker
In March, Romney set off a small firestorm after describing Russia as America's primary enemy on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer."
"In terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council and as of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe," Romney said. That remark spurred criticism from high-profile members of President Barack Obama's administration, including Secretary of State Hillary Clinton and Vice President Joe Biden, who said the view was misguided.
"I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree," Clinton said in a CNN interview soon after Romney made his remarks.
Biden struck a similar tone Wednesday in Iowa, saying at a rally in Dubuque: "I think his foreign policy is right out of the Cold War and his economic policy is just doubling down on the eight years of the last administration that put us into this God-awful mess in the first place. I honest to God believe that is the fundamental difference between us."
Since Romney made his initial remarks, his supporters have pointed to growing tensions between the United States and Russia, including disagreements between the two countries on dealing with violence in Syria and imposing new sanctions on Iran.
On Wednesday, Ayotte said she shared Romney's view that the Obama administration was engaging Russia in a policy of accommodation.
"He, like me, very very much disagrees with the accommodations we have toward Vladimir Putin," Ayotte said. "Vladimir Putin is an autocrat, he's someone we shouldn't be supporting, and I think this administration has been much too accommodating toward Mr. Putin."
Ayotte, who acts as a surrogate for Romney on the campaign trail and whose name is floated as a potential running mate for the former Massachusetts governor, said the GOP candidate's lack of direct foreign policy experience was bolstered by a strong team of advisers.
"He really has very strong foreign policy advisers, and many of our great leaders have served as governors first, including Ronald Reagan," Ayotte, who serves on the Senate Armed Services Committee, said. "I know who his foreign policy team is, he's got the very best advisers on foreign policy, and the other thing I know about Gov. Romney is he's someone who does his homework, he's very thoughtful, and he will reach out to leaders in Congress."
Ayotte mentioned Arizona Sen. John McCain, the 2008 presidential candidate and ranking GOP member of the Armed Services committee, as one of Romney's team of foreign policy experts.
Ayotte wouldn't, however, respond to a question about the vice presidential vetting process, indicating only she was "focused on representing New Hampshire" as the fervor surrounding Romney's eventual pick heats up.
– Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.
McCaskill to skip Democratic convention
Poll: Obama, Romney race still tight
Obama: 'I hope you still believe in me'
Giuliani gives Turner a primary day boost
Why does she always look so angry?
So she's saying we should reignite the Cold War with Russia?
I don't think Romney is stuck wilth a Cold War mentality. More frightening is that he is loaded with W. Bush toadies and is stuck in a NeoCon mentality of attacking countries that have done nothing to us and sending the sons and daughters of the middle and lower economic classes to fight and die to enrich our corporate interests. I think I would prefer a Cold War mentality.
"I've spent a lot if time with Gov. Romney. Hmmmmm.....maybe there's another reason she defends him and supports him. Can anyone say affair?
She thinks..meaning shes not sure what he STANDS FOR, THATS ALL SHE'S SAYING
Romney shipped jobs overseas.........that's as close as he gets to knowing anything about foreign policy.As I recall, he has even referred to the Russians as the "Soviets".........if that's not "cold war" I don't know what is.
And what foreign policy credentials does Sen. Ayotte have? NONE!!! She's just as misguided as Willard. A bunch of former Bush cronies on your foreign policy team isn't a qualification that sits well with me or the rest of America. The best Bush appointee who Pres. Obama kept around was SecDef Gates. The rest of those losers should be investigated for war crimes.
And what does SHE know about foreign policy that she would speak on behalf of Mr. Romney? Gimme a break!
When Sen. Kelly Ayotte is speaking for a presidential candidate on foreign policy, you know America is in trouble.
We don't need no mo Bush foreign policy.
The real problem is Mitt Romney surrogates don’t have any clue about their candidate.
Romney campaign is confusing voters , with Romney many GOP house seats will go down
"I've spent a lot if time with Gov. Romney. I think that he has a strong understanding of foreign policy, and he does not have a Cold War view toward Russia,"
And just where did Willard gain his knowledge of foreign policy? The ONLY knowledge Willard will EVER possess in this area can be found doing a Google search on the internet. Other than that, I guess it stems from hiding out in France when REAL men were sacrificing their lives for his pretty boy lifestyle. Your boy wonder is a failure to this country and even though he's had years to make up for it, he continues to be MIA when the country needs help (does Swiss bank accounts come to mind)? Both you and your "wonder" should cease from lying to the American people and pretending to be otherwise only shows how unfit you both are.
Of course alexithymic Mitt's foreign policy is not stuck in the Cold War, Ayotte. Of course not, dear. Well at least Ayotte doesn't get her reference from looking out of her New Hampshire home's back window, right? Let's get to know the new Sarah Palin.
I know if Romney is elected Presidnet, he'll get that darn wall between the two Germanys knocked down. And for those of us who love liberty lovin' freedom and democracy, we'll be the first country to put a man on the moon! :) It'll be swell, gosh darn it.
He's not stuck in the Cold War. He's got about enough upstairs to understand Robot Wars.
@Malory Archer "Why does she always look so angry?"
Thanks for adding sexism to the discussion. Why does a woman's appearance matter? If that was a man he would be called "serious".
The only Foreign Policy experience Robmey has is his family trip to Canada, with the dog in a crate strappecd to the top of the roof.
Who cares about his foreign affairs policy. I think you better look at his policies as C.E.O and governor. He sucked at both, maybe the republican party should just give up. This is the biggest dirt bag you could find to run for president? Really, he has nothing to offer as a president. If you can't run a state you can' t run a country.
mitts position book ,every page with a new story line
As a NH citizen, I look forward to voting Kelly Ayotte OUT. She does not represent NH...she represents ALEC and Grover Norquist.
Who in their right mind would trust romney on foreign policy? It's glaringly obvious that romney knows nothing about foreign policy and acts only as the ventriloquists dummy for the failed foreign policy/national security leftovers from the disastrous bush administration.
Mittens experience is to ship jobs to CHINA, India....Bain capital.
Rommyforeign polices stance. None. Romney stand on anything...well what day is it?
Bless her heart. She's as clueless as little Willard. That was Willard blabbering on and on about the Soviet Union and Czechoslovakia. Kelly should counsel Willard about the evils of East Germany. She might even suggest Willard get boxhead Allen West in there to help out in the fight against communism.
Mttens has the same military advisers as Bush – do we really want that again?? Heaven help us if this regime gets back into the White House. Wake up people – they want to finish what they started when they went into Iraq, next stop IRAN!! We will be attacking Iran within 6 months of a Romney administration – mark my words. We won't hear anymore about the debt, budgets, jobs, economy, etc – it will be all propaganda to scare us again into going to war.
You need to demonstrate that you have a foreign policy before it can be declared stuck in the cold war. Willard has no foreign policy except how it will help his campaign investors (his aide's term instead of referring to them as contributors) send more jobs to China, Indonesia, Pakistan, India, Mexico and Malaysia.