Romney rips Obama, Clinton on foreign policy
June 12th, 2014
06:06 PM ET
5 years ago

Romney rips Obama, Clinton on foreign policy

(CNN) – Mitt Romney blasted President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton over foreign policy Thursday, saying their leadership during Obama’s first term helped weaken America’s standing in the world.

The 2012 GOP presidential nominee went after Clinton in particular for arguing that the five Taliban detainees released last month in exchange for captive Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl aren’t a threat to the United States.

“That may be one of the most clueless responses I've heard in a long time, because of course you don't throw our allies under the bus,” Romney said on Fox News. “You recognize as well we have soldiers in Afghanistan, and the reason we're there in the first place is to protect United States’ interests and our security needs.”

“So I don't know where she's coming from,” he continued. “I frankly think this is a continuation of a pattern of the Obama-Hillary Clinton foreign policy, and it hasn't worked.”

In an interview that aired on NBC News this week, Clinton pushed back at the notion that America is less safe now that five prominent Guantanamo detainees are out of U.S. custody. They were handed over to Qatar, where they are supposed to remain for a year and be monitored but basically free to live their lives.

“These five guys are not a threat to the United States,” she said. “They are a threat to the safety and security of Afghanistan and Pakistan. It’s up to those two countries to make the decision once and for all that these are threats to them.”

Fired up, Romney said Clinton’s biggest weakness if she runs for president will be defending her record as America’s top diplomat.

"There's almost not a place in the world that's better off because of her leadership in the State Department,” he argued.

Romney also weighed in on the growing turmoil in Iraq, where a militant group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria is threatening to take over more cities, including the capital, Baghdad.

The President said Thursday that Iraq needs more help from the United States and he "will not rule anything out" in terms of assistance.

Romney, however, faulted Obama for not reaching a status of forces agreement with Iraq, in which the United States would have left thousands of soldiers in the country.

“This is the consequence of a president who did not take the right actions at the time opportunity presented itself,” he said.

“A policy of weakness and accommodation that came from the Obama and Hillary Clinton team is one that's led to very serious and negative results,” he later added.

At an event Thursday promoting her new book, Clinton talked about the administration’s efforts to obtain an agreement, but said Iraq flatly refused.

“There was a lot of effort to work through with the (Nuri al-) Maliki government what such a status of forces agreement would look like,” she said. “At the end of the day, the Maliki government would not agree.”

She described the current unrest in Iraq as a “dreadful, deteriorating situation.”

Asked if she would consider leaving residual forces in Afghanistan beyond 2016, the deadline Obama has laid out, Clinton said she would be open to that depending on the conditions at the time.

Clinton has used the book tour to highlight her time as secretary of state. Asked Wednesday what her biggest accomplishment was, Clinton said “helping to restore American leadership.”

She listed a number of achievements and diplomatic moves, such as bridging "an international coalition to bring Iran to the negotiating table" and "passing a treaty through the Senate… to get back to inspecting missile sites and lowering the number of nuclear weapons in Russia and the United States."

She also noted "building relations with China," standing "up for peace in the Middle East" and engineering "three face-to-face meetings between Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Abbas."

CNN’s Dan Merica contributed to this report.

soundoff (105 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Wanna know the real problem in Iraq and why this is really happening? NATION. BUILDING. DOES. NOT. WORK.

    The "army" we helped them "train" basically threw down their weapons, took off their uniforms and deserted in the face of this paramilitary extremist force. And training such an army was the cornerstone of whose big ideas?

    What is happening now in Iraq was the inevitable and unavoidable result of what we started there. It was what we signed the country up for AB INITIO, from the get-go. And yet, instead of recognizing and accepting that FACT, the GOP/Teatrolls will double-down and tell us that to fix it we really just need to RE-INVADE and it's a result of not having pounded our chests enough or bombed enough or occupied enough, etc. Watch. It's just like how they respond to election results that represent rejection of their ideology and agenda and a message that they really need to moderate and change: "We must not have gotten the point across so next time we need to believe it harder, repeat it more often and shout it louder...it's time to quadruple down...we lost because we weren't conservative enough, not because we were too conservative blah blah blah."

    Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result....so what's doing that same thing over and over but turning it up a notch each time and STILL expecting a different result? Answer: Conservatism.

    June 12, 2014 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. Tom

    Same old Mittens - quick to attack Obama but unable to articulate any ideas of his own.

    June 12, 2014 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  3. Wake Up People! Many Rivers to cross.....

    Yep he's out of the limelight....

    FIFY

    June 12, 2014 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. RWB1956

    Hmmm...I thought they wanted us to leave. So how is this the Presidents fault. At the time everyone was happy to be leaving including the majority of the American people. Romney huh?

    June 12, 2014 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  5. rs

    Ever hear of the Geneva Accords Mr. Romney? Once the war ends, POWs go home. Perhaps these 5 got out a little earlier than the rest of the Gitmo POWs, but they got out much later than the 520 Mr. Bush released.
    It's really good to see how you feel about getting an American back, sir.

    June 12, 2014 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  6. Iamnotfooled

    What difference do you make Romney? Who cares?

    June 12, 2014 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  7. Marie MD

    Why is this slimeball even talking about anything? If he doesn't think he was beaten badly in 2012 try it again rich boy. Hillary or anyone else will wipe you off the face of the earth and you can to whatever that planet it is you Mormons think exists wearing your magic underwear.
    BTW – this lie of a war and the thousand deaths and maiming was cause by the village idiot from TX. Obama voted against the war. Hussein was a dictator but his enemy was bin laden and he kept the peace, if you can call it that, in that area for years. Shrub #43 had to finish a war his daddy couldn't and his administration destabilized that region for decades to come.
    You and your brain dead ilk cannot blame him for ending the war and bringing our soldiers home.
    The teaklans are a bunch of disgusting human beings. Not heir only purpose in life is to hate, lie and destroy. They are worse than any terrorist on the planet and they are doing more harm to the US than any attack by them can do.

    June 12, 2014 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  8. Chris-E...al

    You could drop off these american dems into the African plains in the middle of a group of lions and i can here it now . Here kitty kitty nice kitty what a pretty girl ?

    June 12, 2014 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  9. Lisa P.

    “That may be one of the most clueless responses I've heard in a long time, because of course you don't throw our allies under the bus,” said the man who tied his dog to the roof.

    Seriously, Mitt Romney should make a point of never using the word "clueless" in public. It fits the speaker far better than anyone he might try to apply it to. When I hear that his money is back in the U.S. from its' Cayman Islands tax hideout then I will believe that Mitt has a stake in US foreign policy; until then he's just an empty suit making empty noises and spinning silly fantasies about people who live in the real world. This guy would have been a disaster of a President - Scott Walker on crack cocaine, without even the Koch brothers to keep him in line.

    June 12, 2014 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  10. Ed Smay

    Who cares what Mitt thinks, he should focus on paying his taxes and not hiding his money.

    June 12, 2014 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  11. Gt

    Right on message,!

    June 12, 2014 07:31 pm at 7:31 pm |
  12. Scott

    What foreign policy?

    June 12, 2014 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  13. david saint

    lmao this coming from the candidate who CHANGED his foreign policy position from one debate to the next! you cant write this stuff, comedy gold!!!

    June 12, 2014 07:38 pm at 7:38 pm |
  14. Dee

    Romney needs to keep quiet he was defeated and Bush signed an agreement to get out of Iraq a certain time period and then the leader would not sign an agreement with the President to keep some troops there before he pulled our troops out. They need to get the facts straight about this senseless war where we lost so many Americans.

    The choirs boys are now all over the media blaming the President and wanting to go back to war as usual McCain, Graham and Boehner. The President is not moved by rhetoric but by listening to his National Security Team and thinking the situation through, he has to call these parents when their are casualties not the choir boys.

    June 12, 2014 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
  15. drake mallard

    Rich old men will always send poor young men to fight their wars while protecting their son

    Mitt Romney was in favor of the war in Vietnam, but was too chicken
    to fight in it. He had his little pro war sign, and was happy to
    see other people be sent and get kil led, but wouldn't go himself
    draft deferments and worked as a missionary

    while the middle and working class of America sent their sons and daughters off to war during the past 13 years NOT EVEN ONE of these 5 Romney son’s (all who were of military service age) served their nation during that time frame. No, not even one!

    June 12, 2014 07:58 pm at 7:58 pm |
  16. Sean

    Why does CNN seem to think what McCain, Palin, and Romney have to say is important? These people are losers and their opinions are completely irrelevant. Their moronic viewpoints matter no more than any average citizen's on the street. Stop covering them.

    June 12, 2014 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  17. Name. willard

    I said mocked out of presdient obama and hillary clinton cause obama are play game his story for 5 yrs so amercian will say no excuse for presdient obama and hillary for 5 yrs

    June 12, 2014 08:08 pm at 8:08 pm |
  18. Mike Halterman

    Romney need to read his bible. The Shites and Sunnis have hated each other for many, many years. No number of American troops will change that hatred. I served in that area from 1967 to early 1969. We knew then of this hatred. If Romney is going to blame Clinton and the President for the end of the war agreement then also blame the Bush administration for not getting a better deal in 2008. From a veteran who is an independent voter

    June 12, 2014 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  19. Dan

    Her biggest achievement is coming out of poverty when Bill and she left the white house! No?
    They were so poor they had no bread to eat so I guess they ate cakes!

    June 12, 2014 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  20. Name

    Mr chicken hawk has spoken....coming from a soul who petitioned for the vietnam war in college, and then hid in France after graduation for years..ya, lets rush back to our worst nightmare

    June 12, 2014 08:34 pm at 8:34 pm |
  21. Rick McDaniel

    That's just child's play. Time to get serious, about what needs to be done.

    June 12, 2014 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  22. S. B. Stein

    I don't see him offering any real policy. If he thought that we should have been doing more in Iraq, then he should have been doing something to get Iraqi government to agree to a status of forces agreement. If George W(oman) Bush had been less gun-ho in getting this country into an unnecessary and unwarranted ware in Iraq, then there wouldn't be as bad as a problem as there is now. As bad as Saddam was, he kept a lot of people that we don't like in check like the Iranians and Islamic crazy fundamentalists. If we had a more structured plan that had been more realistic, then there would be greater stability in Iraq. Those that planned this didn't have a clue as to what was going on there.

    June 12, 2014 08:39 pm at 8:39 pm |
  23. Former republican, now an independent

    Seriously, what does a man that has never become anything but a vulture capitalist, know about foreign policy. Romney has made his living by stealing people's pensions and livelihoods and is highly unqualified to be president, yet many folks are fooled by his smooth talk and rhetoric. The last thing this country needs is another person born into privilege, who has never worked at a real job, running for public office. Another George W. Bush type, who's sole agenda is protecting the wealthy at the expense of all of the people who actually work for a living!

    June 12, 2014 09:20 pm at 9:20 pm |
  24. Gunderson

    So sad,
    Obama's Foreign Policy is working about as well as the Obama Care Web Site. Nanny State on Steriods. No leadership, no nothing. The Southern Border is being inuduated by thousands of liiegals that think all they have to do is get here and they will be granted amnesty. Obama has bypassed congress and violated the law. Time to start impeachment proceedings.

    June 12, 2014 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  25. MaryM

    Romney, Mr Warmonger himself. Thank God he lost!!

    June 12, 2014 09:24 pm at 9:24 pm |
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