September 17th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
13 years ago

Potential 2012 candidates knock Obama on missile defense

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Romney said the administration's missile defense plan is 'wrong in every way.'"]WASHINGTON (CNN) - Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum - two of the Republicans thinking about challenging President Obama in 2012 - are savaging the administration's plans to scrap a planned missile defense shield in Europe.

The Bush administration had wanted to install the shield in eastern Europe to protect against the threat of long-range missiles from Iran, but the Obama administration said Thursday it will instead pursue a scaled-back program that would focus on short-range missiles. The U.S. reversal is likely to please Russia, which had fiercely opposed the Bush-era plans that would have placed missile bases in Poland and the Czech Republic.

Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, called the move a slap in the face to eastern Europeans "who have stood so valiantly with America and who took political heat for backing the missile-defense system" and accused the president of caving to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin.

Romney, who is scheduled to deliver a high-profile foreign policy speech in Washington next week, said it's risky to tinker to with defense plans when American intelligence regarding Iran's missile capability is murky.

"President Obama has made a dangerous and alarming decision to shelve our missile-defense system in Europe," Romney said in a statement. "His decision is wrong in every way, despite his rationale."

Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, said the president is spurning European allies in order to "appease" Russia - "a potential foe."

"The Poles and the Czechs have a legitimate fear of a re-emergence of the Russian threat to their security and are desperately seeking closer ties to the West," Santorum said in a statement to CNN.

"It appears we have not learned from the mistakes made with respect to these allies from World War II and the Cold War," he said. "Repeatedly turning our backs on our friends will only serve to weaken our alliances and embolden our foes."

Filed under: Mitt Romney • President Obama • Rick Santorum
soundoff (111 Responses)
  1. byron

    I thought repubs wantes less spending?

    September 17, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
  2. rev

    Romney and Santorum.... who could possibly take either one of these clowns seriously? They've both proven that they're as incompetent and delusional as Bush was. Give them a clown car.... then they can have a true career.

    September 17, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  3. Steve, New York City

    Oh wow – complaints about missile defense getting scaled back? Health care for hard-working Americans (some of whom, unfortunately get sick, and can't pay their medical bills) – that's not important, but missile defense batteries in Poland are somehow more important?

    Unlike "President Dick Cheney" who tried his best to re-start the cold war, it's nice to see a strategic shift.

    September 17, 2009 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  4. GOPer

    Let's build missle systems in other country and all the while let our people die because we can't take care of our own?

    September 17, 2009 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  5. Joshua College Station Texas

    I am just curious—Romney went on a Mormon mission in order to "spread the gospel", meaning the 'good news', right? So, during such service, he ought to have developed a greater sense of love, tolerance,and understanding of his fellow man, right? But instead, all that seems to come out of his mouth is intolerance for other cultures and ways of life (both in this country and out of it). I would have thought his experience in France would have given a stronger love for the French, for example, but he constantly puts them and their culture down. Here again, he is taking the side of the Republican agenda, despite that tack being demonstrably weaker, instead of siding with good reasoning and smart strategy that will actually make us safer. In summary, ROMNEY IS A POLITICIAN AND FULL OF GUILE. He doesn't understand his own religion, despite having been a bishop. HE IS A HYPOCRITE.

    September 17, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  6. gg

    lol...very funny, what Romney is going to talk about foreign policy next week? let's pick a fight with Russia, China and North korea.

    September 17, 2009 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  7. Richard Simpson

    Echoes of the cold war die hard. What country in their right mind would launch a limited nuclear strike at a bloc of countries including Israel, to retaliate 1,000,000 times over? It's a waste of money spent solely to "protect" Israel from retaliation from continued racism.

    September 17, 2009 05:57 pm at 5:57 pm |
  8. Joe

    Republicans, the people responsible for the doubling of our national debt, say we can waste billions on missile shields but cannot afford to provide adequate health care for our people.

    Just more of the same and insane rhetoric of the right-wing.

    September 17, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  9. zago

    My friends it's one way or another. The Republicans acting without mind. You claim to put a missile shield in Eastern Europe to protect the old continent from long range missiles from Iran. At the same time you want to stop Iran from producing nuclear weapons whereby ballistic missiles. Doesn't it mean if you build that missile shield you accept that Iran possesses those same ballistic missiles? Anyone with a brain has to understand that if you want to fail Iran's project you need to clear the way for Russia and China otherwise go to war with Iran and face the consequences such that big war spending with no domestic investment, and wait for the demise of the American's economy for good. This is the most rational way to get the Russians on board and freeze Iran while protecting Israel. Obama bests his critics on the issue. Please Repubs don't oppose something that makes sense just for the sake of opposing.

    September 17, 2009 05:58 pm at 5:58 pm |
  10. Tom

    I doubt that Romney really believes what he is saying. He just wants to get the nomination from the Republican right-wingers, for 2012. A lot of politicians are phonies, but he's the phoniest of them all.

    September 17, 2009 05:59 pm at 5:59 pm |
  11. Terry from West Texas

    Conservative candidates would criticize Obama for keeping the missiles or getting rid of the missiles. They have no position on the missiles. Their only position is that Conservatives have is that if Obama did it, it must be wrong.

    They believe that a constant drumbeat of criticism, outrage, and accusation from them will minimize Obama's support. The goal, we all need to realize, of American Conservatism is to gain power and keep power – not to make America a better place to live. If their political sabotage lowers the American quality of life by gridlocking the political system and preventing it from solving any problems, then that is merely collateral damage. You can't make an omelette without breaking a few eggs, they say. It may be our lives and the lives of Conservative voters that suffer, but they are willing to accept that.

    September 17, 2009 06:01 pm at 6:01 pm |
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