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. J Stuart

    Seems like Romney is just using the same old GOP playbook for his Presidential bid. No new ideas, just make people afraid.

    June 1, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  2. The black spider

    What makes Mitt Romney an expert on national security? I haven't hear anybody in DOD or any General criticizing Obama yet on missile defense.
    What did he knows and nobody knows in the pentagon? Did he have access to the intelligencce and the briefing Obama has on a daily basis? Until he answers these questions I assume it's another talking point they trying to fool the irrational thinkers on the republicans to believe in.

    June 1, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  3. George Bianchi

    "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."

    Actually, Romney's article, titled "A Timid Advocate for Freedom," was on the National Review Online, not the Weekly Standard.

    June 1, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  4. Am

    Irrelevance, thy name is Romney

    June 1, 2009 09:48 am at 9:48 am |
  5. Keefe

    Why is what Mitt Romney say's about our President relevant.....?

    Who cares what this guy has to say about the President...

    If the country cared about what Romney say's, he would've made it out of the Primarys......

    What a loser........

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  6. phoenix86

    Let's be fair. Obama has done a wonderful job for North Korea, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas, etc. Most totalitarian regimes love Obama's policies.

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  7. Robert J

    Yet another worthless Repug crticism with no substance or direction how to overcome the stated issue if in fact the issue even exists.
    These Republicans egotists looking to maintain a public profile without any substance are a joke and waste of everyones time.
    Talk, talk, talk, all talk no substance, no direction, no valid plan, all hot air.
    Give us a break!

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  8. Paul Dobroski

    The thing about missle defense is IT DOES NOT WORK! We have been pouring money down this black hole for 15 years and don't have anything that would work against the types of missle that would be fired at us. Gates budget is about focusing the money towards our current needs at an increase of only 4%! What does ROmeny want, another 15% increase to a line item this is 45% of our national budget?

    Next time pick an issue that has some valid data behind it, not just scary words to increase the fear index!

    June 1, 2009 09:49 am at 9:49 am |
  9. ghost

    Blah, blah, blah. Fact of the matter is that N. Korea is everyone's problem, not just our. In getting other countries involved, especially contries in the region that are better targets than the US, we sahre the responsibility. It seems to me that S. Korea and Japan have a lil more to lose right now. And many options are being dicussed.

    As far as the missle program, N. Korea can barely put A missle near the US. It's not like we don't have a missle defense system. And the lonely missle that they might put up would be shot down well before it got close to us.

    Even during a recession, even in the face of international problems, Mitt and the gang continue to politic. There is a time for this and it is not right now. It would be more than helpful if Republicans could hold off a while until we can get the country back on it's feet.

    June 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  10. Desert Storm VETERAN - Welcome to the end of the era of dumb ass Republicans and Stoopid Retards like Rush Limbaugh and Newt in power

    Again, CNN prints an opinion of a guy who practices the religion of polygamy and a retard who has a lot of money but LOST HIS BID FOR ELECTION! Romney is from the party of No and anything he says should be kept within the confines of his own head. Get over it CNN and Romney Obama is President and more qualified than anyone in U.S. history to be our leader. God bless our wonderful president, his family and this country.

    June 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  11. me

    we need to be protected from those insane leaders as Korean, and others. You never know what will make their mind go off.

    June 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  12. E. Elliot

    Rather than as a statesman or potential President, he strikes me as a greasy used car salesman. Except that no one would buy a car from this person, why then does he make national news? The damage done by the Chaney_Rumsfeld_Gonzoles Axis will take 20 years to recover from. If we were to make the huge error of electing another Bush, then there will not be a country to restore.

    June 1, 2009 09:50 am at 9:50 am |
  13. yolanda

    Mitt who? Anybody that defends Cheney and torture is not fit to be president. He lost in 2008 and will lose again in 2012. The party of no will be the party of loser again.

    June 1, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  14. neil

    Obama has destroyed our economy with his clearly failing bailout plan. Where has all the money gone? It didn't help GM. Who is next...why did we pass the bailouts...where is the money?

    June 1, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  15. D. Tree

    {{yawn}} it's the same tired GOP talking point.

    Romney has no problem throwing away billions on dollars on no-bid military contracts, but when it comes to investing in our own country he acts cheap all of a sudden!

    The problem for conservatives is not really all the spending – its what we're spending it on: education, healthcare reform, a new green economy.

    They don't want these things, and that's the only reason they are against investing money in them.

    June 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  16. Bo

    Romney sucked as the Governor of MA. I state my case!!!!

    June 1, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  17. afp

    Mitt.... it's time for serious people who know what they are talking about to come center stage. That leaves you out. Fear mongering has been tried and is NOT true. Do what you do best – profit off the back of American workers.

    June 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  18. DaMaestro

    Since when is Romney the voice on National Security. What are his credentials as FORMER governor of MA? I mean really what information is he privy to that we should listen to him?

    June 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  19. Jeff

    I guess 'ol Mitt has forgotten how he put Massachusetts in jeopardy during his crooked administration as govenor.

    June 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  20. afmcalax

    Same old rhetoric from the failed Republican regime. The Defense budget is bloated and wasteful. You could get the modernization needeed by killing the useless old technology projects still being funded. The Defense Department needs to face reality and spend money on what is needed; not what is politically expediant.

    Why after almost a decade do our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan still not have properly armored humvees and body armor? Until that is answered the Defense dept would be on a short fiscal leash.

    As to missle defense, that system is a false sense of security. It is a bloated response to keep the military companies humming while societal issues get pushed aside once again. It shows that the Repubs will still put the interests of their industrial friends in front of the working class of America. Get us universal health care, good schools, energy independents, and a healthy interaction with our environment .. not more missles!

    June 1, 2009 09:56 am at 9:56 am |
  21. CWW, Arizona

    It's amazing how many Republicans want lower taxes and more military spending. Cut my taxes but protect me from my phantom fears.

    June 1, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. Bill

    What is this Dick Cheney 2 please give me a break. Have the Republicans learned anything from the last two elections. The country has moved away from being scared by them. I also seem to remember it was under 100 GOP control that 9/11 happened!

    June 1, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  23. Nicole

    Interesting how most people honor Romney's opinion. It doesn't really matter how you try to spin what he says, either, because his fiscal experience speaks for itself. Many, many people believe he has greater financial awareness than any presidential candidate in the 2008 election. We still continue to listen to his opinion because of that. And as for "national security" matters, I don't think President Obama has ever experienced anything that would prepare him for what he's facing now. Good luck, Obama. And thank you, Romney, for continuing to give us a little guidance.

    June 1, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  24. Scott from St. Charles

    Romney is another GOP hack, read between the lines and you will see that all he wants is more money for his corporate buddies.

    June 1, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
  25. marla

    Romney, Romney Romney. How soon you forget. It was your party who put the country in Jeopardy. Remember. This President is doing everything he can to help the American people and cleaning up your mess. They need the money first. Your party is the one who put the country in jeopardy by making enemies around the world. and you want the money that supposed help build American people's lifes. instead pay money to protect you and your party from your mistakes. And you had ambitions to win the presidency in 2012?

    June 1, 2009 10:00 am at 10:00 am |
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