December 27th, 2007
06:50 PM ET
15 years ago

Pakistan crisis fuel campaign politics

Romney took a jab at McCain's claim over his foreign policy credentials Thursday.

Romney took a jab at McCain's claim over his foreign policy credentials Thursday.

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Much of Thursday's campaign coverage gave way to non-stop reporting on the assassination of Benazir Bhutto - but that didn't seem to take the edge off the rough-and-tumble of the race.

One of Barack Obama's senior strategists, David Axelrod, made remarks ­ which he later seemed to back away from ­ that appeared to link the former Pakistani prime minister's death with Hillary Clinton's vote on the Iraq war. "I mean, she was a strong supporter of the war in Iraq, which we would submit is one of the reasons why we were diverted from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Al Qaeda who may have been players in this event today. So that's a judgment she'll have to defend," said Axelrod.

Joe Biden took a swipe at fellow Democrat Bill Richardson for calling on Pakistani President Pervez Musharraf to step down: "That's like Bill ­ saying 'Bring home all the troops in Iraq in three months.' It's not practical."

And John McCain said of Rudy Giuliani's post-9/11 experience as mayor of New York: "I don't know how that provides one the credentials to address national security issues."

Meanwhile, Mitt Romney downplayed the value of McCain's own national security expertise, one of his campaign's main themes. "Well, if foreign policy experience were the measure of electing a president, we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole lives in foreign policy - and frankly, becoming United States senator does not make one a foreign policy expert either," the former Massachusetts governor told CNN.

- CNN Associate Political Editor Rebecca Sinderbrand

Filed under: John McCain • Mitt Romney
soundoff (8 Responses)
  1. connie floyd, crockett,texas

    Axelrod, you need to apologize to Ms. Clinton. She was doing her job as an U.S. Senator, which is more than your guy. You Obama people take the cake, you can dish it out but can't take it. You all expect everyone to bow and scrap to your candidate. Go home Axelrod, find another profession, cuz you guys goin home, GO HILLARy!!!

    December 27, 2007 07:24 pm at 7:24 pm |
  2. Vincent, Tamaqua, Pa

    axelrod is playing 'typical washington politics.'

    ya know what... maybe we should just listen to Obama and the Obama campaign and bomb pakistan like he suggested a couple months back– bush/cheney diplomancy! woo whoo!

    Hillary will restore America's greatness!

    December 27, 2007 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  3. riaz siddiqi

    ISNA Strongly Condemns Bhutto Assassination: Offers Condolences to Families of Deceased

    The Islamic Society of North America condemns in the strongest terms the assassination of Former Pakistan Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto who was killed along with numerous supporters in Rawalpindi today. Inna lillahi wa inna ilayhi raji'un. "To God we belong and to Him we return" (Qur'an 2:156). We offer condolences and sympathies to the families of Mrs. Bhutto and others killed and injured by this murderous attack. May God have mercy upon the souls of the deceased and give comfort to their families and friends.

    The people of Pakistan deserve to live in a country free of violence, vigilante action, instability and insecurity. The vast majority of Pakistanis reject the message and methods of militant extremists; indeed, they are the primary victims of their violence and criminality. Such extremists will only be fully marginalized and disempowered if those who hold political office in Pakistan scrupulously uphold the rule of law, respect the human and civil rights of the people and act in their interests along the pathway of democracy. We urge the government of the United States in all its dealings with Pakistan to consider paramount the aspirations of the Pakistani people for a dignified life in a stable and democratic country.

    We commiserate with our Pakistani-American community in this hour of distress. ISNA is committed to working with their leadership and organizations to address concerns about US-Pakistan relations and to work for peace, stability and democracy in Pakistan.

    December 27, 2007 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  4. Gil - California

    "Well, if foreign policy experience were the measure of electing a president, we'd just go to the State Department and pick up one of the thousands and thousands of people who've spent their whole lives in foreign policy — and frankly, becoming United States senator does not make one a foreign policy expert either"

    Mitt, you are being stupid. I understand why you are slinging mud at Huckabee (Because he is spanking you in the polls) but why pick on John? Is it because you feel yourself slipping further and further back in the pack and you are afraid he will pass you as well? Your stint as Gov gave you ZERO foreign policy. McCain is a better person than you and he would make a better president than you.

    December 28, 2007 12:49 am at 12:49 am |
  5. Sam IA

    Bhutto was a moderate and that is why she is gone. Musharaf is our little dictator and all the psuedo support of a democratic Pakistan is just that, talk. He has the nukes secured and is letting us use his country as a platform for Afghan operations so as in the case of Saddam,we nod and wink and give token sympathy to the moderate muslim supporters of Bhutto. The sad fact is that they can see our hypocrisy and the american public can't.

    December 28, 2007 02:45 am at 2:45 am |
  6. sal lincoln nebraska

    Is Joe Biden still around? Yes we know you can never do anything...Cant loose weight, cant stop smoking..Cant impeach Bush or Cheney....Cant elect a president who we actually want...Joe is very very right we cant do anything, humans are capible of absolutley nothing, only he and a few selected genious's can go out and save things for you....Pakistans "President" a man who the CIA and the M-I6 supporsts goes out and kills his main rival in the upcoming election...Yeah why would he step down? Thats totally crazy to think you would hold somebody accountable for something, whats Joe Biden thinking? Someone might get into trouble or maybe the money connection going into Joe's and other 'important' people would be cut off.....Yeah humans cant do anything, shouldnt even try, why even think about doing anything...Or holding anyone responsible

    December 28, 2007 05:47 am at 5:47 am |
  7. Jeff, Houston, Texas

    Invasion of Afghanistan? Necessary, but then we left thim hanging there to fester to become an even greater problem.

    Invasion of Iraq? {sigh} lets' not even go there.

    Pakistan? A supposed ally that will do and say anything to stay in power, not unlike another world leader I can think of, except the one in Pakistan can read. We ignored what was happening there. Totally.

    Now, if you become bored watching Pakistan disolve, a country with nuclear weapons by the way, just sit back and contemplate the worst foreign policy implementations in all history.

    We had so much, and have lost it all. Today, i have to wonder if a new president, any of them, can repair the damge done to the world by George Bush.

    Stop praying about those evil gay people (becasue they are not), and those filthy women who feel they have the right to run their own lives (they do). Pray we make it through all of this in the middle east.

    December 28, 2007 10:25 am at 10:25 am |
  8. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    I believe that Pakistan must have a stable government. It is unfortunate that Musharaf, as the head of the military, overthew the democratic government. For now, he is holding the country (such as it is) together. That is important because Pakistan, like their neighbor India, is a nuclear power.

    Most governors don't have enough foreign policy experience to be able to do much of anything with other countries. Richardson is an exception since he was in the UN. He should know better to ask someone who is working with us to route out Al Queda (however you spell the group; bunch of cowards attacking civilians) to step down with no clear successor or any kind of transition to a new government leader. Right now we should be looking for stable government that is growing the economy there so that people look forward to earning money to support their families.

    December 28, 2007 10:37 am at 10:37 am |