Romney slaps Obama in foreign policy op-ed
October 1st, 2012
11:15 AM ET
6 years ago

Romney slaps Obama in foreign policy op-ed

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's handling of events in the Middle East, including last month's attack on an American consulate in Libya, was the focus of a scathing op-ed from his challenger Mitt Romney Monday, and will continue to be a focus of his campaign's message, according to advisers to the GOP nominee.

The op-ed, which recycles much of what Romney has said on the stump and in interviews, asserts Obama has been weak in promoting American interests as various events unfold in the Middle East, including in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iran. Romney has latched onto a comment Obama made during an interview in September calling incidents of unrest in the region "bumps in the road," saying it reflected a dangerous nonchalance toward serious issues of national security.

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"These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere 'bumps in the road,'" Romney writes in the op-ed, published in the Wall Street Journal. "They are major issues that put our security at risk."

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired last week, Obama said unrest in Libya would not prevent the country from developing a functioning government that adequately represents the Libyan people.

"I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance," Obama said in the interview. "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."

In the op-ed published Monday, Romney wrote Obama had placed the United States "at the mercy of events rather than shaping them."

"We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies. And that's dangerous," Romney continues. "If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom."

In his article, Romney did not specifically address questions about security at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, ahead of the September 11 attack, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya. But surrogates for Romney, including Sen. John McCain, have hammered the White House for what they said was a grave mishandling of events both before and after the attack.

"It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours," the Republican senator told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" Sunday.

He argued the administration's first reading of the events in Libya had "certain political overtones."

And the conservative super PAC American Crossroads, co-founded by Karl Rove, released a video Monday harshly criticizing Obama for his response to the attacks, including not scheduling any meetings with foreign leaders during last week's United Nations General Assembly.

"President Obama needs to learn that being president isn't just about being on TV and protecting your job, it's about leadership," a narrator in the video says.

On a conference call Monday, Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said foreign policy would form part of the GOP candidate's message for the closing month of the presidential campaign, along with the economic points Romney has been hammering away at for the better part of a year.

"Gov. Romney will, over the next few weeks, crystallize the choice for voters on the issue of foreign policy and national security," Madden said, adding that Romney would "lay out a stronger vision for American foreign policy based on the strong leadership that we need to shape world events and protect American interests and ideals."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Also see:

- Getting ready for Wednesday's showdown

- Ann Romney to rally while Obama preps for debate across town

- Obama to hit trail after debate

- Romney hits Obama on foreign policy in weekly podcast

- Obama talks housing market in weekly address

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. rs

    The problem for Mr. Romney is that he has zero foreign policy credentials. Further, rather than simply taking the Neo-Conservative line (all the rage in GOP circles since Bush ran), he has in fact he has been all over the map. His metaphors stink (Libya does not equal Iran), his occassional statements (like "our good friend Israel") are at best naive), and he takes multiple sided on issues. For example- is he for democracy in the Middle East or not? No one can tell. One minute he is agaist supporting the Arab Spring, and the next he complains we haven't gone to full-blown ware in ___________ (fill in the blank) to accomplish "freedom".

    October 1, 2012 11:32 am at 11:32 am |
  2. Wes B.

    The Republican party has not had credibility in foreign policy for 20 years.

    October 1, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. linda

    Romney should know about BUMPS IN THE RAOD,,,,he's had enough of them in his campaign.....every country trying to over take their dictator and their military are going to have BUMPS IN THE ROAD fighting for their freedom, but what Romney is saying is Obama hasn't done enough......Obama has done just ENOUGH other than sending in troops and sending in weapons and money......that's what the Republicans want and that is what the Republicans will do.....starting another WAR is just part of what they stand for......Yet the Republicans complain about the debt....what do they think is going to happen to our debt if we get involved in another WAR.....the Republicans are not going to get rid of this countries debt, they are going to make it worse.....they are going to get into all these countries that are fighting and Romney will take the money he needs for his Wars out of the Social Security, Medicare and the middle class will be the ones paying for them......

    October 1, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  4. Wake up people!

    This coming from the empty suit that doesn't know his rear end from a hole in the ground. And proved it during the Olympics and last months Libya attack.

    OBAMA 2012!

    October 1, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  5. Lynda/Minnesota

    Thank goodness this is the last month we'll have to listen to Mr. Mittens throw his talking points BS around. If there ever was a candidate who should never have made it to the top of the ticket, it is Willard Mitt Romney. What were GOPers thinking when they chose this man as their next ... "leader"?

    October 1, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  6. Average American

    I am still waiting to see what exact proposals Mr. Romney plans to put forward to create peace in the middle east. He had a great opportunity in this op ed to lay out his plans. Instead, he offered the same tired critique and generalizations that he has in the past. It was a waste of space and a waste of my time to read it.

    I, for one, will not just "trust him" on foreign policy OR the economy. No specifics = no vote.

    October 1, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  7. 1twinsfan

    What's Mitt's foreign policy experience? Protesting FOR a war that he himself got out of serving in?

    October 1, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  8. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Romney has proven himself to be quite irresponsible and uninformed in his foreign policy commentaries, so who cares who he thinks he's "slapping" today? Tomorrow will bring another day and another story.

    October 1, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  9. The REAL Truth...

    Yawn.... I have more foreign policy experience than Willard does, and I have ZIP!
    The Grand Obstructionist Party has done all in it's power to cause the downfall of President Obama, and we all know the GOP fully supports the industrial/military complex under the guise of "making America strong", "defending our foreign policies" and "being strong on Defense", so it's no surprise that the Twit things that we should go to war with Iran in support of a country that leeches our dollars.
    This method is indicative of this candidates approach to all things.. blame Obama. Trust us, we'll fix it, we'll tell you how (or not) after we get elected...

    October 1, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
  10. walleye46

    The GOP has no valid candidates to put up against Obama. Last time the geriatric McCain chose an even dumber Palin. This time its Mitt who has no clue on how to run a govt. The American people will not be fooled and will stick with the current POTUS.

    October 1, 2012 11:58 am at 11:58 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    What were GOPers thinking when they chose this man as their next ... "leader"?
    I'd reckon they were thinking who'd make the best puppet for their needs. Dubya already had his turn at bat.

    October 1, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  12. bethjoyce

    Lets see now. Who knows more about the Middle East, its history,and its leaders. Who has had the most briefings and really knows what's at stake. It's very laughable if you think it's Mitt Romney. He knows very little about what's going on outside his little empire.

    October 1, 2012 12:00 pm at 12:00 pm |
  13. 2020

    That has to be a practical joke.

    Romney fault Obama on foreign policy. is this Cheney talking?

    Romney is out of his mind. He is no body on International politics. Get down to the basement do some reading and learning.

    October 1, 2012 12:06 pm at 12:06 pm |
  14. sonny chapman

    The Neo-Con view that America can "shape" events in other parts of the world, especially in the Mid-East is delusional hubris, or worse, COLONIAL. It's totally lacking in respect fro the human beings over there. It's part of the Fantasy World that Fox News & their viewers live in. In WW II, we could "shape" things militarily because wars were Conventional & were fought by Army v. Army. The First Gulf War is the only time since WW II that America has faced the same situation. It's time to "evolve" American Foreign Policy to match reality.

    October 1, 2012 12:07 pm at 12:07 pm |
  15. GI Joe

    Ryan's foreign policy experience? He said "I voted for the war on Iraq". No kidding. He said that himself.

    October 1, 2012 12:10 pm at 12:10 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    My comment to the Neo-Cons could be summed up in Two Words; GROW UP. The Hippies finally grew up, now it's time for the John Wayne Wanna-Bes to do the same.

    October 1, 2012 12:11 pm at 12:11 pm |
  17. Mittens Rmoney

    My foreign policy on the Middle East is quite clear. I will do whatever Israel tells me to do.

    October 1, 2012 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  18. km4candles

    Please tell me what experience Obama had on foreign policty when he was elected President? This President has done absolutely nothing since he was elected, except campaign for re-election.

    October 1, 2012 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Pam from Iowa

    The only "foreign policy" Romney knows pertains to his bank accounts!!
    For him to accuse the President regarding foreign policy is just ludicrous!!

    October 1, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  20. Gotta Be Kiddin

    On 9/11/01 United States attacked by al-Quaeda. 2977 people died. Pres. Bush ignored intelligence received months prior to attacks.
    March 20, 2003 United States invades Iraq starting the war on terrorism – stated reason Weapons of Mass Destruction of which there were none, so we were LIED into a devastating war.
    May 1, 2003 Pres. Bush declares "Mission Accomplished" on an aircraft carrier – under the assumption that the war is over.
    Over 162,000 civilian and combatant deaths during the war in Iraq.
    December 2011 – President Obama ends the war in Iraq and brings our soldiers home.
    September 2012 4 Americans killed in Libya including a U.S. Ambassador
    President Obama does not immediately jump to any conclusions but takes a thoughtful approach and gets all the information before presenting it to the American people. Romney immediately jumps at what he feels is an "opportunity" to make the President look weak and instead makes a fool of himself.
    Romney has as his advisors many of Pres. Bush's advisors during the war. So why should we think he would do anything different than President Bush?
    How can ANY Republican call President Obama weak on foreign policy considering their policies that cost thousands of lives.

    October 1, 2012 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. usa

    Did you (the people on this blog) not see our flags being burned in 20-plus countries, and our ambassador murdered and dragged through the streets?? And while these horrendous acts were happening, our current president, Obama, was in Las Vegas campaigning and sending his people out on news shows lying to the American people. It is outrageous that any American would say this president has dealt with foreign affairs in anything but a disastrous way. He has put our own national security at risk. Absolutely time for a new leader of our great country.

    October 1, 2012 12:26 pm at 12:26 pm |
  22. Alvin

    I'm disturbed by this administration's "denial" and deception with foreign policy. Rather than sending out Susan Rice to deceive the public, just tell us the truth about the terrorism attack on the anniversary of 9/11. Rather than blaming an obscure film and calling these incidents "bumps in the road" just acknowledge that the strategy of being really nice to our enemies is not working.

    October 1, 2012 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
  23. Mentalk

    So we now know if Romney is elected he will be using your and my tax dollars to dump more troops in Afghanistan and jump into Syria. Good to know!

    October 1, 2012 12:30 pm at 12:30 pm |
  24. Sandy

    Romney still writing op-ed's after he got burned on the "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt"? LOL The guy never learns!

    October 1, 2012 12:31 pm at 12:31 pm |
  25. PJ

    For months, weeks and days, Romney and his surrogates have promised he will give speeches offering specifics
    about his plans, now he will "crystallize" our choices regarding "foreign policy and national security".
    He will "lay out a stronger vision"..............
    Right, right......, wrong. He has no intention of being specific. Since he can't face people (unless they are billionaires)
    the WSJ has given him a place to hide and write out his plan.
    He can't even do that. Trust him??? Not likely.

    October 1, 2012 12:32 pm at 12:32 pm |
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