(CNN) - In a new campaign video and in emails sent to reporters throughout the day, the Obama campaign spent much of Friday highlighting what they call an important omission from Mitt Romney’s acceptance speech on Thursday night.
“In an almost 45-minute speech, Mitt Romney didn't find a moment to mention Afghanistan,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement sent to reporters just after midnight. “With no new plans and evasion about his real plans, Mitt Romney leaves this convention no stronger than he came.”
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An Obama campaign web video released early Friday morning showed edited clips of the many patriotic platitudes included in Romney’s speech before a female narrator points out that “at a time when 84,000 American men and women are fighting for their country in Afghanistan,” Romney’s speech included “not a single mention of how or when to bring them home safely.”
The campaign also sent around an Associated Press story claiming that Romney became the first Republican nominee since 1952 to give an acceptance speech at his party’s convention without mentioning war.
However, that 1952 speech was delivered by 5 star General Dwight David Eisenhower, perhaps the greatest American war hero of WWII. And although he never referred to “war,” it would have been hard to not notice the subtext of all the military language he used in his first acceptance speech.
Here is a typical phrase from that July 11th 1952 speech, “We will so undergird our freedom that today's aggressors and those who tomorrow may rise up to threaten us, will not merely be deterred but stopped in their tracks. Then we will at last be on the road to real peace.” It’s hard to believe he wasn’t referencing the Korean War, which was still raging, in his statement about “today’s aggressors.”.
The National Security Network, a progressive national security group, also noticed the omission and sent out a statement from its director Heather Hurlburt pointing out that actor and director “Clint Eastwood had more to say on these topics than the man asking America to trust him with our nation's security.” Eastwood mentioned Afghanistan in his unorthodox remarks earlier in the evening.
"In an almost 45-minute speech Mitt Romney didn't find one moment to mention Afghanistan, Iraq or the men and women who are serving - though he did take the time to continue the winks and nods at a new war with Iran,” Hurlburt said in her statement.
NSN’s statement also included a clip from conservative writer Bill Kristol, who noted Romney’s decision not to mention Afghanistan in a blog post on the Weekly Standard’s website before asking, "What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing to even mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we're fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we've been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?" The answer to Kristol’s question might be found in the 1952 Eisenhower speech.
Conveniently, President Obama spent Friday serving in his capacity as commander-in-chief with a previously scheduled visit to Fort Bliss in Texas to mark the second anniversary of the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq.
Romney campaign spokesman Ryan Williams responded to the criticism.
"The day before his convention speech, Gov. Romney traveled to the American Legion national convention–an invitation the President declined–because Gov. Romney views any opportunity to stand with those who have served as a privilege,” Williams said. “In contrast, President Obama has failed in his duty as Commander in Chief to win the home front. Unlike any wartime president in memory, he has failed to consistently and forthrightly speak about the war in Afghanistan to the American people. The Obama campaign's attack on Gov. Romney today is another attempt to politicize the war in Afghanistan, a war in which President Obama has dangerously based his decisions on political calculations, endangering our mission."
– CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this story