June 26th, 2008
12:00 PM ET
15 years ago

Roberts: Those 'Liberal' non-proliferationists


Watch John Roberts interview Mitt Romney.

(CNN) - Just when you think you’ve heard everything in this race for the White House, along comes something truly surprising. Such was the case on Thursday's American Morning. I was speaking with former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney about Sen. John McCain's new line of attack against Sen. Barack Obama. McCain hopes to paint Obama as a politician who puts party and self-interest above the needs of the nation, claiming that the Illinois senator has “never been a part of a bipartisan group that came together to solve a controversial issue”.

This morning, Romney faithfully repeated that charge. When I pointed out that Obama reached across party lines to work with Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Indiana, on a non-proliferation measure, and with Sen. Gordon Smith, R-Oregon, on increasing gas mileage requirements, Romney shot back, saying that “Actually, on both cases, you’re talking about two liberal positions, non-proliferation as well as the gasoline mileage."

Watch: Romney attacks Obama

It struck me as rather odd – having covered five years of the Bush administration as a White House correspondent – that the governor would view non-proliferation as a “liberal” issue. I seem to recall a little ditty called the “Proliferation Security Initiative,” launched by President Bush on May 31, 2003. The aim of the initiative is to enlist the nations of the world to “stop trafficking of weapons of mass destruction, their delivery systems and related materials to and from states and non-state actors of proliferation concern.” Whether the program is a success is very much in question (though the administration claims it is), but I’ve never heard anyone call it a “liberal” position.

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soundoff (264 Responses)
  1. Marc PDX

    I live in Oregon and although Gordon Smith runs as a Republican, if he were in an eastern state he would be solidly a Democrat. Jim Webb (D-Va), for instance is considerably more conservative than Gordon Smith. So it's hardly a case of reaching across party lines to work with him.

    June 26, 2008 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  2. Shelly in IL

    Seems to me as if Sen. Obama cant get a break from these blood-sucking GOP's. That's alright, because Sen. John Kerry will back Obama and wage an attack against Mitt.

    June 26, 2008 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  3. Adam Habib Dallas, TX

    What is Mit Romney's policy? He was govt govt healthcare and now he is against it. He was Anti-abortion and then he was against it.

    June 26, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  4. Mark

    Romney is an amazingly stupid and opportunistic politician. He reminds one of Bush but with better luck in business. What wouldn't he say or do to become McCain's VP?

    He is a politician in the meanest sense. What Romney certainly is not is a public servant of the American people.

    June 26, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  5. Ryan, New York, NY

    Silly liberals try to increase fuel efficiency. Why can't they simply see that we can drill for more oil? It's not like there's a limited supply or anything.

    Twit Romney for VP.

    June 26, 2008 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  6. Proud Vet

    Mr. John King, what did you expect the mitt to say? he is just a repugnant simple mind

    June 26, 2008 02:43 pm at 2:43 pm |
  7. Peter E

    Face it: it's not as if the republicans have been truly 'conservative' ever since Reagan, and especially since Bush. That's why millions of us left them.
    Or did you think that foreign interventionism and record deficit spending are 'conservative?'
    Vote Ron Paul! Vote to respect the Constitution! Vote for change you can TRUST in!

    June 26, 2008 02:44 pm at 2:44 pm |
  8. Ryan from Denver

    By definition "(bi)partisan" highlights parties! To say the "non-proliferation measure" and "increasing gas mileage requirements" are "liberal" measures does not negate their 'partisaness'. I hope you were able to point out Romney's category error—responding to your remarks with “liberal” is arguable, but more importantly, it renders the statement “never been a part of a bipartisan group that came together to solve a controversial issue” FALSE.

    June 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  9. Chut Pata

    McCain has successfully "Out-Bushed" Mitt Romney to become the pub nominee and hence McBush. Mitt is just licking his wounds.

    Compared to the neo-con Mitt Romney, McCain is a democrat!!!

    June 26, 2008 02:45 pm at 2:45 pm |
  10. Peter E

    Why do you think the term 'neo-conservative' was coined? It's because we, true conservatives left the republican party, disgusted by their foreign interventionism, their excessive federalism, and record deficit spending!
    Vote Libertarian! Vote for freedom!

    June 26, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |
  11. HH

    Mitt Romney has what eight kids? Can I relate to him. no.

    June 26, 2008 02:46 pm at 2:46 pm |

    This dude really needs to get a life because right now he does not have one.

    June 26, 2008 02:49 pm at 2:49 pm |
  13. Dorian in NC


    I had a Tim Russert flashback because you made Romney face commonsense questions when attacking false claims.

    Continue that vigor with EVERYONE politician, Democrat & Republican...

    June 26, 2008 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  14. Danel

    It's the silly season folks. Parrots are coming home to roast. Romney will sing like a canary just so McCain will put him as a VP. Thanks to Romney I am paying more for my medical out of pocket.

    June 26, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  15. We're on to you Angus

    Angus McDugan,

    Karl is that you?

    Angus McDugan = Karl Rove


    June 26, 2008 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  16. Man Without a Planet

    I heard someone say that if McCain won they were moving to Canada.
    But if Obama wins where can one go?

    June 26, 2008 02:52 pm at 2:52 pm |
  17. heartlight 3, Maui, HI

    Using the term "liberal" as a dirty word is so yesterday. Today "liberal" means progressive and looking forward instead of backward.

    June 26, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  18. Donkey Party

    I really hope McAncient is still considering this dolt for VP... then the landslide will be an avalanche of epic proportions.

    June 26, 2008 02:53 pm at 2:53 pm |
  19. Nate

    It's amazing they consider these things liberal issues. It's kinda like global warming. I never understood why it was a political issue. Oh, wait I remember. Big Oil, Coal, Auto, and Industry paid the Republicans to fight against something that would be bad for business for them. It's criminal that the goverment took part in that deception.

    A lot of these issues become politicized because someone gets paid to support an agenda, and despite how much sense a particular position makes, they take the other side.

    June 26, 2008 02:55 pm at 2:55 pm |
  20. Vincent from Ireland

    Too bad mitt wasn't the repub nominee, the beat down the GOP would receive would have been even fiercer in November....what a tool.

    June 26, 2008 02:57 pm at 2:57 pm |
  21. oil rules

    It is funny how legislating better gas mileage will help. Just because congress tells automakers to get better mileage doesn't mean it is possible. Of course one fast and easy way to do it is to cut down on the steel and add more plastic in cars. Which of course hurts the steel industry and makes the cars more prone to being death traps. Talk about lives for economy......

    June 26, 2008 02:58 pm at 2:58 pm |
  22. VB Lincoln Park NJ

    Any criticism of Obama from losers like Romney are worthy only of the laughter they engender.

    So sorry "swift-boat" liars, it's not going to work this time.

    June 26, 2008 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  23. Noah

    Mitt was my least favorite of everyone that ran this year. I'm an Obama supporter but I’m VERY glad that McCain won the nomination. Now I just hope he doesn’t select him for his running mate.

    June 26, 2008 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  24. AH

    If Barack Obama puts Hilary Clinton in as the "VP" look out McCain.
    Obama/Clinton will be leading in triple digits.

    June 26, 2008 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  25. John

    My daughter has a relevant bumper sticker: "Real conservatives conserve the environment". "Phony" conservatives like Bush, McCain, and Romney conserve the oil companies...and the pharmaceutical companies, and the auto companies, and any other industry that buys its way into the righthand side of congress. Liberal policies? Here are a few, compliments of Bush and his Republican minions: A "spend now pay later" fiscal policy; a "don't worry about emergeny management, immigration, infrastructure, education" policy; a "shoot first and don't bother me with the details" policy in Iraq; a "screw our constitutional right to privacy policy; etc. These aren't just liberal policies, these are radical policies! We must not allow this to continue.

    June 26, 2008 03:04 pm at 3:04 pm |
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