Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria
September 2nd, 2012
04:34 PM ET
2 years ago

Biden claims Romney wants war with Iran and Syria

(CNN) - Vice President Joe Biden claimed Sunday that Mitt Romney, the Republican presidential nominee, might engage in war with Syria and Iran if elected president in November.

"He said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home," Biden said at a campaign stop in Pennsylvania. "He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home. He implies by the speech that he's ready to go to war in Syria and Iran."

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While Romney supports President Barack Obama's deadline of September 2014 for withdrawing all troops from Afghanistan, he says timelines like Obama's cause allies to question America's commitment to helping countries recover from war. The Iraq withdrawal, completed at the end of last year, drew criticism from Romney, who characterized the move as either inept or driven by political motives.

"I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said in October.

On Iran, Romney has sought to adopt a tougher tone than Obama on preventing the country from developing nuclear weapons, though in terms of policy Romney has not offered anything markedly different from what Obama currently has in place. He has not, as Biden suggested, said that he would wage outright war with Iran.

Romney acknowledged the similarity between his own viewpoint on Iran and Obama's position in an interview with CNN's Wolf Blitzer in July, saying "our president has said and I have said that it is unacceptable for Iran to become nuclear."

If all else fails, Romney said, "A military option is one which would be available to the president of the United States."

On Syria, Romney has accused Obama and his administration of being similarly weak in dealing with President Bashar al-Assad, and has called for the United States and allies to arm Syrian rebels.

The White House has avoided taking that step, saying the U.S. doesn't know enough about the opposition fighters to offer weapons.

In an interview with CNN's Christiane Amanpour in July, Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson said the candidate thinks "we should have people working with the opposition, trying to identify the moderate forces and help them unify."

But when Amanpour pressed Williamson on other options to try and weaken al-Assad, he said Romney was more reluctant than members of his own party to take additional steps.

"He won't join his friend John McCain and others who are calling for no-fly zones and safe havens," Williamson said, adding those measures were "not something you can put off the table."

Foreign policy has not been at the forefront of the 2012 presidential campaign as Americans struggle with high unemployment and stagnant wages. The economy and jobs are generally ranked higher in polls of voters' top issues.

With that in mind, Biden stuck mainly to the economy at his Pennsylvania stop, using harsh attack lines to criticize the economic plans offered by his rivals.

"There's nothing new about this plan," Biden said. "It's not only not new, it's not fair and it's not right. It won't grow the economy, it didn't do it before. Folks we seen this movie before and we know how it ends."

Romney's campaign responded by pointing back to the economic policies from Obama and Biden, saying the current jobs situation spoke for itself.

"It's clear that we need to move in a different direction, but Vice President Biden only brought the same failed policies and tired attacks to Pennsylvania that have not turned around our economy or helped the middle class," Romney spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg wrote.


Filed under: Iran • Joe Biden • Syria
soundoff (306 Responses)
  1. dm nash

    If the rich getting richer and poor getting poorer works so well all we have to do is look to Mexico to see the flaw in that arguement. The illegals are coming here to work and better their families because the rich have given them no opportunities there either. Take a sociology class....income disparity brings crime, hate, fear and everything we're seeing in our society now. Stop the cycle now.

    September 3, 2012 12:28 am at 12:28 am |
  2. Veritas Lavinga

    Iran cannot have a nuke, so yes, war is inevitable. Finally the democrats get something right! As for Syria, warring with them would ignite the entire region into a firestorm that wouldn't end without China & Russia entering the conflict first. Not a good idea.

    September 3, 2012 12:32 am at 12:32 am |
  3. BeverlyNC

    Romney = Bush on his war mongering- this time with Iran. Experts say there is no clear evidence Iran has the nuclear power they claim to have. Romney isn't interested in facts just playing the same fear games Bush did with Iraq and WMDs. Iraq had NO WMDs and Bush knew it but we still went there for a fraud war. Over 4000 soldiers died for a Bush lie. Are we going to let another Bush intelligence-level Romney take us into another fraud war based on no or fraud evidence? Only if Romney's sons are deployed to fight and every member of Congress who votes for war either goes to fight or send their children to fight the war. Bet there would suddenly be a totally different view of Iran if their children had to go fight the war they want so much and have NO money to pay for.

    September 3, 2012 12:39 am at 12:39 am |
  4. Leopold

    Biden has completely lost it. Even Obama is frustrated with him. And Barrack himself has said the military option is definitely not off the table.

    September 3, 2012 12:52 am at 12:52 am |
  5. Leo

    Scare tactics are not going to get Obama re-elected...

    September 3, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
  6. David Crosby

    I can't wait for the VP debates. Ryan will take Biden to school, but with Biden's mouth it is sure to offer a night of good entertainment.

    September 3, 2012 01:02 am at 1:02 am |
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