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. smith

    @Tone-So you consider yourself to be Obama`s loyal subject? Personally, I like my freedom.

    June 13, 2014 10:10 am at 10:10 am |
  2. Sniffit

    "Romney rips Obama, Clinton on foreign policy"

    Partisan mouthfarts. So yeah, kudos on the double entendre with the verb "rip".

    June 13, 2014 10:11 am at 10:11 am |
  3. Sniffit

    ""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.""

    Dude refused to agree to anything. You can't force people to just agree to something if they are fully entrenched, intractable and adamantly opposed to anything resembling it. The GOP/Teatrolls know this: it's how they've behaved towards Obama since January 20, 2009.

    June 13, 2014 10:13 am at 10:13 am |
  4. bill

    obama's weak--the result is-after he is out of office a 911 that puts the first 2 to shame will happen-he and hillary created a mess of the entire middle east and more and kerry is pulling the wagon. WHY did we leave troops in Germany and Japan???? did that work????? now obama has pushed iran to come help their neighbor iraq-what a marriage but the results will effect us. thanks obamaweak.

    June 13, 2014 10:19 am at 10:19 am |
  5. Joan

    The President NEVER received any help from the GOP. Maybe the American public is getting the message kick them all out. Eric Cantor is a start. John McCain there is not a war he doesn't like. He worries about other countries and does nothing for this country and the American people. The people want more gun control but McCain votes NO. He is my senator and he should retire to one of his seven houses.

    June 13, 2014 10:21 am at 10:21 am |
  6. Silence DoGood

    @Chris-E...al
    I wished 0bama and the dems would do a good and complete accurate assessment on something wow .
    ---------
    When they do the tin foil hat brigade just says "it is a lie".
    It is like when the Air Force finally released Project Bluebook notes on UFO's and it was the boring truth.
    Tin Foilers just said "well that is a cover up for the other, Other Secret Book (somewhere)".

    June 13, 2014 10:22 am at 10:22 am |
  7. Silence DoGood

    Obama / Clinton – Diplomacy and measured intelligent responses.
    Radical Right wing – Blow sumtin' up. Send troops to shoot stuff.

    June 13, 2014 10:27 am at 10:27 am |
  8. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA - Take Back the House

    The Iraq war is over for the U.S.! End of story. It's a war we should have never been in to begin with. This violence going on right now would not be happening if Saddam were still in power. But you know us and how we are about protecting our "INTEREST(OIL)."

    June 13, 2014 10:30 am at 10:30 am |
  9. Lizzie

    drake...... VP Biden ask for FIVE deferments during the Vietnam war, was he chicken also, President Clinton went to Canada would you call him chicken too.

    June 13, 2014 10:35 am at 10:35 am |
  10. sifto

    Nobody cares about hilary and gay marriage..total softball interview of no importance..just npr trying to pretend those were hard questions..probably a setup by clintons to try and make hill sound "human"..what a farce..now, this interview with romney is about something important..he sounds like a man who knows his stuff and speaks his mind..

    June 13, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  11. rs

    smith
    Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, and now Iraq are all in complete chaos. Back in 2008 these were all stable countries and some were are allies. The Obama foreign policy is junk.
    ___________________
    You're smarter than that Smith. Who attacked and destroyed Iraq and the nations' infrastructure triggering a civil war? A civil war which has reverberated across the Middle East? Sure, it *might* have brought democracy to the region- but clearly, that doesn't appear to be the actual results. You cannot blame the destruction of Iraq, the killing of at least 125,000 Iraqi civilians and the creation of more than 2 million Iraqi refugees- who traveled all over the Middle East.

    At the very least, give the President the credit for not starting two wars and cutting taxes like his predecessor- something never done before in American History. Meanwhile, before complaining about the condition of Iraq, think of how high our taxes will have to go to pay for another American incursion (if that's what you want). Phrased in those terms, I think you'll find Americans have had enough of Republican military adventurism.

    June 13, 2014 10:36 am at 10:36 am |
  12. rs

    Ahhh, yes, let's listen to the sage Mr. Romney. His little "summer vacation" abroad the summer before the election revealed the plutocrat's ability to frost off every single nation he visited- England, Israel, and other nations found him shallow, uninformed and abrasive- sure. He's got the answers.

    How's the echo in there?

    June 13, 2014 10:39 am at 10:39 am |
  13. smith1

    romneys foreign policy consist of a mission he did 40 years ago and ordering snails while in france. Get real and go home Mr president wanna be. Or better yet get your 1% to help ann with her dressage.

    June 13, 2014 10:40 am at 10:40 am |
  14. Sniffit

    "Sniffit....One of many stupid things you have said on this site over the last 3 or 4 years. Sniffit or McCain? Yaaaaawwwwnnnn!"

    Really? So you're denying all the reports that are coming out that the "army" and local "militias" we "trained" for Iraq, as was part of the plan from the very beginning as formulated by Dubya, Darth Cheney and Rumsfeld, simply dissolved in the face of enemy fire and blew away like a fart in a tornado? Deny all you want, but it's the single biggest reason this is happening in Iraq. It's also massive evidence that nation building daydreams are a farce and were ill-conceived ideological fantasies to begin with when the neocons hallucinated them to begin with.

    June 13, 2014 10:42 am at 10:42 am |
  15. GonzoinHouston

    We need to stay completely out of Iraq and Syria. We have no friends in the region. We installed a nascent democracy in Iraq, but since our departure it has spiraled down into sectarian violence. ISIS was once a part of the Syrian resistance against Assad.

    What started in Syria as a revolt against a dictator in the Arab Spring has evolved into a greater Sunni-Shiite conflict, fought by assorted proxies. The leading powers are Iran and Saudi Arabia, neither of whom are officially involved. This has become the Islamic Viet Nam, and we should stay out.

    June 13, 2014 10:43 am at 10:43 am |
  16. Lizzie

    Anonymous
    -– but it is fine and dandy for the current President to blame ALL shortcomings of his administration on the former President, promise and then quickly forget what was promised, create another talking-point to distract.

    June 13, 2014 10:44 am at 10:44 am |
  17. Jep

    john McCain like Mitt Romney have never gotten over losing to Obama so every chance they get, they blame this administration for the woes of the world and CNN seeks them out to boost their ratings.

    June 13, 2014 10:47 am at 10:47 am |
  18. Bill from GA

    " 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 criticism keeps coming up from repubs. How long do they think Americans need to keep dying for Iraqis who won't fight for their own country. McCain made the same statement. And what COMPROMISE should Obama have made to get the status of forces agreement?

    Truly disgusting of Romney and his bunch to criticize our President over this. They have no answers. How many of Mitts sons would he sacrifice for the Iraqis?

    June 13, 2014 10:48 am at 10:48 am |
  19. GonzoinHouston

    Romney thinks he barely lost in 2012, and would have won had his messaging just been a little better. He doesn't get it: he lost to a black democrat from Chicago after 4 years of nearly 10% unemployment! No incumbent president has ever been re-elected when unemployment was over 6.5%. Obama was re-elected even though it was nearly 9%. On paper, Mitt should have won in a landslide, but he lost. This should tell the GOP a lot more than "we weren't conservative enough"

    June 13, 2014 10:52 am at 10:52 am |
  20. yeahright

    Guest
    What is his foreign policy experience / expertise?
    =============

    He keeps a lot of his money in foreign countries, does that count?

    June 13, 2014 11:00 am at 11:00 am |
  21. Bill from GA

    jordan – " I don't remember Gore and even an active Senator Kerry throwing the Bush administration under the bus like this after losing much, much closer Presidential elections. "

    McCain is doing the same thing towards Obama. Low-class, sore loosers. Makes you wonder what kind of leader either would have been (McCain or Romney). Totally Low Class, all the way.

    And Anti-American too. All of these righties who attack every decision made by our President make us look weaker to our enemies and friends.

    June 13, 2014 11:02 am at 11:02 am |
  22. Bill from GA

    smith – " Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, and now Iraq are all in complete chaos. Back in 2008 these were all stable countries and some were are allies. The Obama foreign policy is junk. "

    W invaded Iraq at a cost of over 4000 American lives, many more wounded, and trillions of dollars. After all of his other excuses fell apart, he claimed it was to bring Democracy to that region. Do you approve of THAT foreign policy?

    And, in Egypt, Syria, Ukraine, Libya, we (Obama) may have supported a change in government, but we let them do it for themselves, with (sometimes) assistance from us AND our allies. I suppose you support a full-scale invasion? Or should we defend some overpowering dictator (Egypt)?

    Further, thanks to W's overreacting foreign policy, the American people have no interest in direct involvement ANYWHERE now.

    June 13, 2014 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  23. Chris-E...al

    Sadly we will be involved in Iraq Kerry just said we had interest which means oil and blood the mideast is about to blow all over from nation to nation ? If you got a reset button that works n0w is the time to use it ?

    June 13, 2014 11:23 am at 11:23 am |
  24. Amazed

    OK Obama it is 3:00 am in the morning and the phone is ringing off of the hook! What are you going to about it?

    June 13, 2014 11:24 am at 11:24 am |
  25. Not So Fast

    It is amusing to read all of the Obama apologists postings. You can't make enough excuses for pure incompetence. That goes for Hillary, too.

    June 13, 2014 11:27 am at 11:27 am |
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