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. lb

    This is Obama's test. Should he decide to continue on the path to cut defense spending, he fails. Where would be his logic with N Korea, Iran and his current situation in Afghanistan. Do you not see in history how NK can serve as a distraction upon which Iran will act? Please media, start printing what the men in uniform see and not what is favorable to the pres and his sheep in this country.

    June 1, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  2. JML

    and what else do American's expect from a republican? GOP=no policy on anything other then tell more lies and decieve more people.

    June 1, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  3. Dave

    Can someone please explain to Mr Romney that North Korea doesn't have the technology to launch a missile that would come near the proposed anti-ballistic missile defense shield? Their missiles cannot hit Alaska, and they certainly cannot hit Poland.

    June 1, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  4. Thinker

    Just what this country needs. Another torturer in office.

    June 1, 2009 09:37 am at 9:37 am |
  5. JonDie

    Typical Republican. Romney has NO experience whatsoever in foreign policy issues, yet he's a self-proclaimed foreign-policy messiah of the rightwing. Our enemies must take great comfort in seeing our president viciously attacked day in and day out by people who are supposedly patriots from the president's country.

    June 1, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  6. Laverne

    this guy just does not have much credibility. Senator McCain and others peeped his hole pretty good during the 2008 primaries. I just don't think Mitt Romney will get the majority to support him, especially with the same ole washed out idealogy he has obviously decided to go with.

    June 1, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  7. Dan, TX

    I think Obama is looking at massive budget cuts in four years and massive tax increases – like California is going to go through. My guess is that Obama will have to cut at least $50 billion rather than add $50 billion from defense. I think that is a good thing. Our country is far safer with a balanced budget and lower debt than with a missile defense shield.

    June 1, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  8. Mr. Phil

    Yeah Mitt, let's keep dumping more money into an missile defense system that has been a massive failure since Reagan was in office. Is it not enough that the Defense budget is 10 times more than the next highest discretionary expenditure (Health and Human Services)?

    June 1, 2009 09:39 am at 9:39 am |
  9. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Romeny, I hope you get killed in a car crash todya, you piece of filth!!

    June 1, 2009 09:40 am at 9:40 am |
  10. Andrew

    You know mitt you are just too cool for school!!! This is all you have said since Obama took office. Any other wise and flambouyant phrases you would like to grace us with?

    June 1, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  11. Paul Abeln

    Romney's only true concern is how to make our country into a Christian theocracy. This crazy conservative cannot see that Republican deregulation brought about our economic mess–he's clueless.

    June 1, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |

    Romney should stop kissing the feet of repubs. The base will never accept him because he is too moderate, a mormon, and not hateful enough, as evidenced by his views and governing when he was governor. He is not fooling them because they know he has not changed, and he is still trying to appease them by making all these ridiculous statements. I bet if he were to be more honest about what he really believes, more in their party might respect him. McCain and the others running for the presidential nomination in the last election did a pretty good job on destroying him. He, as well as others, should also remember that they cannot win with only the base anymore.

    June 1, 2009 09:41 am at 9:41 am |
  13. Michigan

    So spending puts the country in jeopardy, and Romney proposes even more spending, but on defense. Nice to hear him spouting the Republican line again. They are just praying that we are attacked by somebody so they can shout "I told you so!" even though the last attacks were on Bush's watch, and the economic disasters we are experiencing were begun on Bush's watch when he spent ever more on defense and ignored social programs (except the too-expensive Medicaid prescription plan) and education. So sure, Mitt, we'll buy your fear and more military speech. And that waterfront property in Utah you're selling as well.

    June 1, 2009 09:42 am at 9:42 am |
  14. Vic of New York

    So, let's see... You get nominated to be the Republican Presidential Candidate by being the biggest dope in the class?

    Oh, sorry, or is that by being the biggest hippocrit Baffoon is the class (Newt Gingrich)?

    So, here's the Republican strategy: "Whatever the President says, we'll just say the opposite - Yeah, thats the ticket!"

    Sorry folks, Republican stands for "Rich and/or Scared Dummy" in my book.

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  15. Jim

    Mitt! So nice to hear from you... I haven't see/heard from you since you flat out lied about not having former lobbyists running your campaign. You are a funny man. Good luck with your whole "member of the GOP" thing. Y'all are a dying breed. A dinosaur, as it were. I'm confident that you'll "reinvent" yourself (like you did 139 times during your primary campaign in 2008) and tell us all that you are a Democrat soon. Can't wait to hear from you again.

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  16. Big red shoes

    Anotherclown that will not shut his trap. Go away or convert to being a catholic to maybe have a chance at it in 2012.

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  17. John, Brooklyn, New York

    And exactly what are Mr. Romney's foreign policy credentials and why should we be listening to him? CNN....start reporting real news.

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  18. dominican mama 4 Obama

    "...Unprecedented borrowing...Obama shrank from defending liberty here in the Americas...Obama's speech was more tortured than enhanced interrogation techniques.."

    What I'm trying to figure out,, Herman Munster, is how are you differentiating yourself from the rest of the antagonizing RepubliKlans?
    Sounds, and looks like more of the same to me.

    June 1, 2009 09:43 am at 9:43 am |
  19. Terry

    Romney's goal, of course, is to ingratiate himself to core Conservative groups who will provide funding for his political ambitions.

    Now how does he imagine using a missile defense system in Korea? N. Korean missiles are only a few miles from Seoul. The missiles would have exploded on their targets only a few seconds after they were detected. That is the problem with the Korean military situation. South Korea essentially cannot be defended from a missile attack from the North.

    Q: How can you tell when a Conservative is lying?
    A: If he is breathing.

    June 1, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  20. Accountability

    This is the same guy who blasted Obama for government spending.

    Oh...and Mitt, the fear thing didn't work for McCain, and it's not working for the Republicans now....you might want to come up with another plan....

    June 1, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  21. james

    Romney is the most self-serving politician in the Republican Party. Wherever he feels it's convenient to attack the administration to further his own aspirations seems to be fair game for him. First, it was preaching for the same fiscal policy of the Bush Administration that got us into this mess and now it's Obama making the country unsafe. This guy might as well be a computer program than a human being.

    June 1, 2009 09:45 am at 9:45 am |
  22. Johnny DC

    It's going to take more than a crafty speech to get this message across, sadly. Just like with 9/11 and obvious air travel restrictions that should have already been in place, it is going to take a dying button-push by a North Korean lunatic to bring us together on the importance of national defense.

    June 1, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  23. Troy from NJ

    WOW..where was Mitt on National security issues when Bush and Cheney dropped the ball on 9/11 and starting a war with a country that didnt have anything to do with the 9/11 attack. I guess Mitt is trying to out do Sarah for that far right base of the Republican party. John McCain pointed this out in the campaign, Mitt is a Flip Flopper. I guess now he has adopted the Dick Cheney stance on national security; the one he argued against during the republican campaign.

    Mitt if the republicans dont want you; how do you think you can win democrats talking so foolish.

    June 1, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  24. Lori

    Yeah, Mitt. And had President Bush not been wasting our MONEY and MANPOWER in Iraq perhaps we would actually be able to pose a threat to North Korea. WMD in North Korea-yes, WMD in Iraq- None!!! The Republicans policy of diverting our attention away from their failed attempts of getting the mastermind of 9/11, Bin Laden, and focusing our attention on Saddam, has failed and now North Korea knows we can't defend ourselves against them.
    You Republicans have made this country less safe. I'm resentful for it. Now, let the grown-ups (the Democrats) run this country properly.

    June 1, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  25. RH

    The Republicans are gambling that America will be attacked before the next election cycle. Risky. Not exactly progressive, either.

    June 1, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
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