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. Joe E.

    We are not the neighborhood bully anymore Mitt. The adults have returned to the helm, to steer out of the rapids that little cowboy Georgie waded into, the jerk! Get with the program and shut up!

    September 17, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  2. LacrosseMom

    Is this a surprise? I am dreading the 2012 presidential race, if we thought 2008 was nasty, we ain't seen nothing yet!

    September 17, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  3. Randolph Carter, a real American

    Because they know better than the secretary of defense and the joint chiefs. Weak, repubs. Have a nice day!

    September 17, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  4. JonDie

    Mitt Romney = air-head, just like Bush.

    September 17, 2009 04:51 pm at 4:51 pm |
  5. tired of the real liars

    oh god,,here we go again,,something for the republicans to complain about,,,,they will never agree with anything the president says or does,,, why can we all see that,,,and why didnt republicans do anything while they were in power,,,,,do we all have major short term memory or what? wake up america

    September 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  6. ran

    Fear/war mongering/hate;what else would you expect from a Republican.

    Sad the (Republicans) still do not get it.

    I hope this kind of rhetoric is not a preview of 2010 and 2012.

    September 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  7. yuri

    They just have to polarize. If we can partner w/ Russia, a few more chips can be cheerfully cornered for bargain huntin'. A long and hard look at the distant future of negotiating w/ Russians might give us tactical advantage over Iran, and even N. Korea, blokes!

    September 17, 2009 04:52 pm at 4:52 pm |
  8. David

    Great to see the GOP maintains a steady plan of FEAR

    September 17, 2009 04:55 pm at 4:55 pm |
  9. Jose C

    Why were we even considering such a thing in the first place? IF the Europeans want a missile defense shield, we will be glad to sell it to them, and they can place them wherever they like.
    We need to stop being the world's police.

    September 17, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  10. jfs Memhis, Tn

    Just what does he know about missles ???? Has been visiting Alaska again ????

    September 17, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  11. I can see Canada from my house!

    I guess conservatives are always happy to make our country look like the village idiot of the international community, rather than make tough decisions.

    September 17, 2009 04:56 pm at 4:56 pm |
  12. pam Eugene OR

    They just can't help it. There go the Republican again with the "fear" card. What part of we are bankrupt, broke and in hock to China don't they understand. We can't even afford health care.

    September 17, 2009 04:57 pm at 4:57 pm |
  13. kaleto

    First Obama caves in to North Korea demands for 2-party talks in order to secure the release of those two reporters they were holding hostage, now he gives in to Russia. Why, just because they're giving $2bil worth of weapons to Venezuela? So what!

    They had a word for this back in the 1930's: "appeasement". And how did that work out for the world, hmmm?

    September 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  14. Glarn Skleeblemann

    Thank you, Mr. President. I'm proud to finally have a intelligent, reasonable commander at the helm. The depraved and wasteful Star Wars fantasies of your predecessors deserved to be ash-canned. I salute you, as do millions of grateful patriots.

    September 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  15. Connie, Indiana

    Monday morning quarter backs..My guess this is going to be a talking point now..Two guys that aren't even elected officals and they know everything about everything..must be nice to be physic..

    September 17, 2009 04:58 pm at 4:58 pm |
  16. KS Hawk

    I am from Bob Gates home town, people seem to be forgetting this has long been a controversial flawed program and that several leaders in military and Pentagon have been in favor of dropping it. Obama is doing a smart thing, Rommey is just trying to make political points, it is always easy to complain and find and taking responsibility takes more than Rommey has to offer.

    September 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  17. John

    Wh cares what these two losers have to say?

    September 17, 2009 04:59 pm at 4:59 pm |
  18. Melissa

    More knocking from the war mongers. These people ceased to be of relevance long ago.

    September 17, 2009 05:00 pm at 5:00 pm |
  19. Sniffit

    "This new approach provides a better missile defense capability for our forces in Europe, for our European allies and eventually for our homeland than the program I recommended almost three years ago," – Gates

    "The technology has evolved in a way that allows you to deploy a system that is more effective in countering both short, medium, and long-range missiles," – Some Official CNN didn't name

    "It's a more advanced system, more cost effective and efficient," the official said. "The notion that we're abandoning missile defense is completely false. It's evolving into a different system."


    September 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  20. Dan

    Why should we pay to protect Europe?

    September 17, 2009 05:01 pm at 5:01 pm |
  21. Jackson

    Who cares what mitten romney thinks?

    September 17, 2009 05:02 pm at 5:02 pm |
  22. Peter

    The war mongers like GOP have no place in civility! Obamas plan will make America more secure. The age of cowboy shhot from the hip think later is gone! do you guys ever get it??

    September 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  23. Nick San Diego

    Romney wrong again. Sticking that shield, would have been no different than the Russians placing one in Canada or Mexico. How long would we have stood for that ?
    I don't think the voters are interested in belligerent acts, no matter how it;s framed. People want to get this country back on track.
    There will be no plus for Romney or the GOP on this issue except the extreme Right, who are loud, but still a minority

    September 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  24. DB25

    Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney? Please. Rick is a washed up Senator and Mitt....well, doesn't he have a Mormon church in Utah to attend or something? Both of these people have zero chance of getting the nomination in 2012. Unless, of course, the voting republicans get stupider by then.

    September 17, 2009 05:03 pm at 5:03 pm |
  25. Kevin

    What a surprise. These two pinheads never miss an opportunity to remind us of how bleak Republicans have it when it comes to "leadership" in their party. Iran is public enemy number one for the US. They continue with efforts to build nuclear weapons and would like nothing more than to destroy the US and all that we represent. The cold war is over you morons! We must remain vigilant and prepared for REAL threats against our nation as opposed to those imagined by these two failed "leaders" of the Republic party.

    September 17, 2009 05:06 pm at 5:06 pm |
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