September 17th, 2009
04:30 PM ET
14 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. Gary

    Nothing wrong with smarter cheaper options.

    September 17, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  2. PA Voter

    Odd - we don't have money to provide health care to all Americans, however we have more than enough to support a missile defense program for our Eastern European neighbors.

    The Republicans are just throwing everything out there, hoping either 1)something starts to stick or 2)Americans get so inundated with their misrepresentations that they just start believing all the nonsense.

    September 17, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  3. vic nashville , Tn

    Now they are taking

    I didn’t hear anything past month

    First show the leader ship in domestic problems

    September 17, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  4. Laura what's new with the Republicans? They have nothing constructive to offer any, no, no, blah, blah, blah..I'm not listening good ideas, no intelligence, just trash-talk.

    September 17, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  5. Dutch/Bad Newz, VA

    Santorum is a bigot and Romney just likes to be in the limelight. A missle defense system is what we needed 30 years ago. These cold war weapons are stockpiled and need to be scrapped. Us and the Russians can't expect other nuclear armed nations to reduce their nuclear arsenal unless the we're willing to.

    September 17, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  6. Jayden,FL

    Both Romney and Santorum needs to shut up!

    September 17, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  7. Sniffit

    Yawn. Obama could poop solid gold briquettes and these GOP idiots would claim they find fault with it. People with brains in their heads will listen to Gates and the unanimous opinion of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The mindless remainder would believe the GOPers if they fabricated something completely baseless and nonsensical like, oh, I care refrom will force you to appear before some sort of "death panel" if you get sick to figure out if you're worth saving...oh, wait a second....

    September 17, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  8. Sniffit


    Look that up in the urban dictionary...go ahead...

    September 17, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  9. Bedtime for Obonzo

    So the Beloved Leader hangs our democratic allies, Poland and the Czech Republic, out to dry to appease Russia. Those nations went way out on a limb to OK the missile defense system, and now Obama has sawn off the limb. What do you bet the "new, improved" system is never deployed? All this at a time when Iran is closer than ever to a nuclear weapon.

    And for all of you who will claim that the system is useless, doesn't work, costs too much, etc., please identify the source of those "facts."

    GWB was right - "This guy has no clue."

    September 17, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  10. Romney is wrong.

    Old Bush-era policies create "enemies" in the name of "protection." There are no simple answers, but this is not a game of Risk.

    September 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  11. Video Guy

    Thank goodness these two of the Republican clowns have all the answers are are right on top international affairs. Maybe Gov Mark Sanford can be a adviser for the GOP on international affairs.

    September 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  12. Rob

    You are a twit Mitt. A member of the party of NO. Well we (the majority of Americans) say NO to you. Loud and clear...

    September 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  13. Alexander

    And off course Romney knows that its wrong in every way because he has access to all the intelligence! Gates himself is pushing this new program as being far better, superior and pragmatic than the one that just got scrapped... But, old on, Gates wouldn't know a thing about national defense. Thus Gates must be wrong in every way as well.... Romney, Romney... you naughty!

    September 17, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  14. Paul

    This president is so arrogant that he thinks that this systematic dismantling of America's ties with her allies will appease the Russians and others and that he will go down in history as the great peacemaker. He is a great idiot ,is what he is. BHO is the worse president this country has ever had, from the cozying up to potential foes to the "socialization" of the American poliltical and economic system. Even the "less than honorable" Pelosi is having her doubts. It will take America years to undue the damage this man has already done. Whomever runs as a Republican can count on this Democrat's vote in the next presidential election. I have been a Democrat for 44 years and I no longer trust the party or its hacks. One and Done!!

    September 17, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  15. Polar Bears Against Palin

    Big government Republicans advocating a socialism.

    September 17, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  16. Sharon

    Are these the same quacks that are arguing against helping AMERICANS with healthcare. If Europe wants the defense shield, then they should pay for it! After all, Europeans have univeral healthcare!! Their kids don't die because their parents can not afford healthcare.

    Dumb Romney! You are jumping on the band wagon as all other elected Repubs against Obama, but you are forgetting that it is not only the protesters that vote!! The foaming mouth fanatics only make up a small section of American voters. You will remember in November 2012, when we again line up to vote for Obama!!

    September 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Ed, Santa Fe, NM

    If it was a Bush idea then it obviously SUCKED.

    I wonder if Romney has ever watched Trapped by the Mormons (1922).....

    no way will he ever be president.

    September 17, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  18. dustin

    If eastern europe needs the missile shield so badly, let them be the ones to solely fund it.

    Repubs will spend billions on a system that hasn't been proven to work, to protect eastern europeans from potential bombs that aren't coming, but won't spend any money to protect americans from germs and medical bills.

    September 17, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Typical Republican

    That's what I'm talking about Mitt. I fully agree, we should continue to invest our money in worthless out dated and retarded products, the REPUBLICAN way. I mean, what do a bunch of JOINT CHIEF OF STAFFS know? Nada I tell you, they're just a bunch of yahoos that don't know a thing about wars and what we need for defense. Unlike you and me, who know everything about wars and good stuff to do it.

    And hey, that guy that was all for it but say's better technology, cheaper technology, more versatile technology is available WHAT, we need to invest in the outdated prehistoric stuff. Us republicans are all about reverting back to the stone age. Why go with "new and improved' when we can waste our money on "proven to fail and out of date"? I tell you, bad idea to make a smart decision Mr. Obama!

    On another note, why oh why did we ever stop investing in the flame thrower as a first line of defense against alien invaders?

    September 17, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  20. Proud Member..Party of No

    Obama's motto....Anything To Appease America's Enemies.

    But, this is what you get when you elect a foreign-raised community organizer as President of the U.S.

    September 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  21. Rob in Detroit Mi.

    Instead of knocking the President on missile sheilds for Europe Romny needs to take command of his party because the nut jobs are running it ,the vile & hate is alarming,out of the 60 or 70 thousand that showed up for the so called tea bag party 15 to 30 thousand where there spewing racial hate,thats a lot of folks people the more you keep quiet the more it will come to the surface,AS a black listening to to black Republicans acting like they didnt see or hear anything racist makes me sick to my stomac! you can be loyal to your party butbe loyal to the human race A famous man once said for evil to win good men must do nothing.

    September 17, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  22. economist

    Wait a minute, Mr. Santorum: Russia is our "foe"? Really? Or is this just the world you and your ilk would prefer to live in?

    September 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  23. Lynda/Minnesota

    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.
    Perhaps Romney isn't aware that most Europeans don't want our missiles in their backyards and never did want them?

    WWII and the Cold War indeed. Same old republicans - always looking backwards.

    September 17, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  24. Mike,Iowa

    I am so sick and tired of hearing about 2012! If all they care about is their political future and pole numbers then they need to step down becuase they are doing our country no good at all. If we can not focus on the topic at hand then we will never get anything accomplished and it will forever be a back and forth battle. Then again maybe that is the way they want it and why not they can afford to play these games becuase anymore thats all politics is a big game of political supremacy. How can we say that we would be better off putting missle defense systems in other countries, how do we know it would cause tension instead of easing it? Why cant we ever move forward from our war torn past and stop refering to the cold war and start giving some credit to other countries and stop seeing them as potential enemies. In my mind that is what causes tension and war to break out. But then again any good republican knows thats where the money is at... If you ask me the civil war is the only war i see about to repeat itself with the never ending back and forth arguing, finger pointing and accusing of all sides over every issue.

    September 17, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. tr

    Exactly what part of the fact that the shield doesn't work at all do these foks not get...

    September 17, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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