June 1st, 2009
09:07 AM ET
11 years ago

Romney: President putting country in jeopardy

Romney will deliver a speech focused on missile defense on Monday.'

Romney will deliver a speech focused on missile defense on Monday.'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney, eyeing a run at the presidency in 2012, is taking another step in fleshing out his foreign policy portfolio with a Monday speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation on the topic of defense spending.

According to excerpts of the speech provided to CNN, Romney will call the Obama administration's plan to trim more than $1 billion from missile defense programs a "grave miscalculation" that will put America at risk, especially given North Korea's nuclear provocations.

Romney says that Obama should push for "comprehensive, regime-crippling sanctions" against North Korea and "immediately reverse his recent decisions and strongly support completing our ballistic missile defense system."

In the speech, entitled "The Care of Freedom," Romney will also call on the administration to increase the modernization budget by $50 billion per year and to lock in total defense budgets at no less than four percent of GDP. But the military budget has been endangered, Romney argues, by the administration's domestic spending programs.

"Over the last few months, it has passed measures that will add almost $4 trillion to the national debt in the short term and then over $3 trillion over the next ten years," Romney will say. "None of that money was spent on increasing the defense modernization budget - a failure that history will never understand or excuse."

The former Massachusetts governor is urging pro-defense members of Congress to hold firm against further cuts. He plans to say that "depleting the defense budget to fund new social programs, particularly in the face of global turmoil, would put America and Americans at risk."

"At the most fundamental level, our military might depends on the long term strength of our economy," he will say, according to the excerpts. "The President's planned budgets and multi-trillion dollar deficits, financed by a level of borrowing never before attempted by any nation, puts our whole economy in jeopardy."

Romney, who ran the investment firm Bain Capital before entering politics, often touted his business and managerial experience as a presidential candidate. But as a former governor, he had limited experience with national security matters - a deficit that his rival John McCain was eager to highlight during the primaries.

Since the 2008 election, Romney has re-emerged as a vocal critic of President Obama's security agenda, and has made a series of public statements aimed at raising his profile in the foreign policy arena.

In April, he blasted Obama in The Weekly Standard for not objecting when Nicaraguan President Daniel Ortega criticized the United States at the summit of the Americas in Trinidad and Tobago. "President Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas," Romney wrote.

Last month, when Obama and former Vice President Dick Cheney presented dueling speeches on the use of enhanced interrogation techniques against suspected terrorists, Romney defended Cheney and said that Obama's speech "was more tortured than the enhanced interrogation techniques he decries."

Romney has said he will not hesitate to praise the president when he agrees with him. At an April fundraiser for Senate Republicans, for instance, Romney applauded Obama for taking the right steps in Iraq and Afghanistan. But despite those kind words, Romney has so far been more critical than supportive of the administration's foreign policy agenda.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (189 Responses)
  1. Beny

    We have seen the republicans way of doing things: Starting wars based on lies, running up our national debt, ignoring all but the rich. So far Obama is doing far better than Bush did in his 8 years in office.

    June 1, 2009 09:09 am at 9:09 am |
  2. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    I hear the criticism, but no solutions.

    June 1, 2009 09:10 am at 9:10 am |
  3. Rick

    When did Mitt become an expert on defense affairs? He is just another republican playing second string quarterback with no game plan.

    June 1, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  4. John in Ohio

    So he says Obama needs to take a harder line with North Korea, and the hardest line he suggests is... more sanctions?

    Waste of hot air.

    June 1, 2009 09:12 am at 9:12 am |
  5. NJRepublican

    " the Obama administration's plan to trim more than $1 billion from missile defense programs"

    I really hope that is not the case. Liberals would rather save a tree then focuse on our national security. Unfortunately we live in tough times. Times where the world is not happy with our American way of life. This has been going on since the 80's. Due to this, our defense needs to be ramped up; not cut. Cutting it now would be a grave mistake.

    This is a bad move by this current administration.

    June 1, 2009 09:13 am at 9:13 am |
  6. S, Miami, FL

    The Hertiage Foundation – I just read about this foundation in Peter Galbraith's book "The End of Iraq". It was this conservative think tank that the Bush administration hired a few young, inexperienced people with absolutely no foreign relations experience nor nation-building experience to oversee the whole budget of rebuilding Iraq. The only reason they were chosen was because they were members of this conservative think tank and held the same values as the neoconservatives. Of course we all sadly witnessed the outcome of that decision with its affects on Iraq.

    June 1, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  7. S Callahan

    I'm not sure if this is a 'future' campaign speech....but...I have to agree it is faulty on the part of Obama's adminstration to 'trim down' the defense fund....I understand , the world knows, we have to rid ourselves of nuclear weapons...but the defense budget should be increased to develope /enhance weapons of protection. Freedom can not be sacrafice at any cost.

    June 1, 2009 09:15 am at 9:15 am |
  8. Kent

    Please Lord: "No!"

    June 1, 2009 09:16 am at 9:16 am |
  9. Michael

    Sounds like the typical Rep. Build Defense and don't worry about the American Issues. North Korea is calling a bluff and the reps. know it. North Korea is a threat to south korea and we do have to protect them. Mr. Romney should concentrate on what the GOP's concern for every Americans and their family issues. God Bless America.

    June 1, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  10. Paul

    I don't suppose Romney mentioned that Obama actually increased the overall defense budget? No? Or that the 'missile defense programs' in question have been a black hole of wasteful spending with little result for decades now?

    This kind of cherry picking and deceptive rhetoric is one of many reasons why Mitt Romney will never be president: the public simply does not believe he is sincere, and rightly so. He'll hold whichever position is most convenient at the time.

    June 1, 2009 09:21 am at 9:21 am |
  11. John Tucker, Alaska

    Romney looks like a fool yet again. That is the only news I see here.

    June 1, 2009 09:24 am at 9:24 am |
  12. Patrick - Indianapolis

    Anyone else have the bitter taste of conservative fear smear in the back of their throats?

    June 1, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  13. J

    Mitt Romney is a perfect example of what is wrong with the Republican party, they are trying to change and reinvent themselves and they still have this moron hanging around their neck pulling them underwater.

    June 1, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  14. alvino

    Romney continues to say it is okay to spend, spend, spend, but only on missle systems. When the last administration did nothing to stop North Korea, where was the Mitt-wit? I guess labeling them a part of the 'axes of evil' was as tough as it gets when you are a right wing nut.

    June 1, 2009 09:28 am at 9:28 am |
  15. mtv

    What 's putting the country at risk Is IDIOTS LIke Mit and Rush and CHeney denouncing the President while other Countries take note..........and figure lets attack since their own country men are against the President............That should be addressed

    June 1, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  16. obambi

    this man deserves to be the next president–not only for his knowledge on foreign policy and tough stance on terror–He is one of the few candidates who is an undisputed expert on economics.

    June 1, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  17. scott morley

    This guy is so 2008. Let's get with the program Mitt. You're either with us or you are with the bad guys Mitt.

    June 1, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  18. Randolph Carter

    Sanctions are something to consider. If the U.S. and a bunch of other nations cut off all trade and aid of any kind, N. Korea would change their tune pretty quickly. Of course that could provoke them to do something crazy out of desperation. It might be better to just ignore them. They're trying to provoke some kind of reaction so that "Dear Leader" can look strong. If we laugh it off, it just makes him look like the little tinhorn dictator that he is. What is he going to do? Nuke Japan? Invade S. Korea? I don't think so.

    That said, Mitty, do we really need to fund a missile defense system? Come on, dude, It would be unbelievably expensive and probably not work too well. Remember Reagan's "peace shield?" What a joke.

    June 1, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  19. rosslaw

    Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff Adm. Mike Mulligan and Army Chief of Staff George Casey described the United States military in the waning days of the Bush administration as being on the "verge of collapse" due to mulitple deployments overseas and its involvment in a war built on a pack of lies. Al Queda must sorely miss Bush, Cheney and their ilk given the incomparable benefits these still delusional criminals conveyed on it, second only to those which the Bushies conveyed on Iran, all at no cost to Iran and unimaginable cost in blood and treasure to us. Romney is an empty suit apparently praying like his brethren for another terrorist event in the United States which they can then exploit like 9/11.

    June 1, 2009 09:32 am at 9:32 am |
  20. Mari( maybe one of my comments will be posted)

    The Missile Defense "system" was a joke & a terrible waste of money. Look it up its fact.

    Its easy for Romney to sit back and criticize when he is not the president and having to solve the incredibly difficult problems that Bush left behind!

    Romney will say anything to be the next GOP presidential nominee, he has to walk a very fine line not to upset the party's leader, Limbaugh-the-comedian!

    June 1, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  21. Evie Lafferly

    Oh, what's another trill here or there? After all, only the rich in America will have to pay for it... I have a castle in Louisiana for sale at a really great price, takers.

    June 1, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  22. alvino

    When Mitt defends Cheney, I think we get a pretty good idea of where Mitt wants to take the country, and, sadly, we have already been there. It is not a place that we need to return.

    June 1, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  23. timothy hollis

    hey get this romy! the country has already been in jeopardy! would you have made it better?

    June 1, 2009 09:34 am at 9:34 am |
  24. Ursula

    Hmmm..... didn't Bush put this country in jeopardy with his morbid stupidity? And I guess Romney could do better? Doubtful. He is still just another lousy self serving republican.

    June 1, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  25. maf

    The GOP and Romney in particular, are not finding any new ways to spin their tired losing mantra of fear and leaving an enormous debt for future generations. Republicans can only say the same thing so many ways. War is always an economic answer to the Republican woes!!! Not anymore. If the Republicans aren't fighting a war, they have no idea how to run the country without one.

    June 1, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8