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. Nicole

    Isn't a little too soon to even think about who is going to run for President in 2012!! We barely got the last election over with.
    Seriously people need a break!!

    September 17, 2009 05:27 pm at 5:27 pm |
  2. Gene

    He's not eliminating missile defense.. he's scrapping the old plan for a new, more efficient one, that was approved by everyone including the joint chiefs of staff.

    September 17, 2009 05:29 pm at 5:29 pm |
  3. Laura in KS

    Oh good grief! All of a sudden you conservatives are concerned about our European allies? Are you kidding me? The same people that you constantly demonize as "socialists" and "big intrusive governments" and there's that terrifying, evil thing called the "EU" that most of you don't even understand, and now suddenly you give a hell about Europeans?? I just read a comment on another story that referred to foreigners as "animals." If that is how you feel, then why in God's name do you care about their supposed safety? Oh, wait. I know the answer. It's because Pres. Obama had something to do with this so you automatically have to take the polar opposite, whether it's in America's best interest or not.

    September 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  4. GOPer

    These GOPers fail to recognize the wise decision was collectively made by the Secretary of Defense Gates, President Obama, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

    President Bush's misguided plan was unnecessary, wasteful and provocative, but of course, neocon Romney and Santorum (peas in a pod) would embrace such war-mongering nonsense.

    Thank goodness the neocons were voted out of office, and rational intelligence returned to our foreign policy.

    September 17, 2009 05:30 pm at 5:30 pm |
  5. victim of republican greed

    Leave it to these two morons to support a worthless outdated system. If either one gets the nod to run against Obama, their campaign will be about moving us back to the 1950's when blacks, women, poor people knew their place.

    Both do reflect the hate from the right and would represent the birthers well.

    September 17, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  6. Mike, Syracuse, NY

    Obama isn't wasting any time in gutting our national defense. This should make the liberals happy.

    September 17, 2009 05:31 pm at 5:31 pm |
  7. Independent

    So what else is new, whatever President Obama does, it gets sliced, diced by the Republicans...

    What makes you think you are so much better and what makes you all think you are the Choosen ones???? I think NOT!!!!!

    September 17, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  8. victim of republican greed

    At least Santorum makes the Mitt-wit look like a politician.

    September 17, 2009 05:32 pm at 5:32 pm |
  9. Jake

    well it's a relief that more than half of America agrees with President Obama on this matter. . .so good luck with re-capturing the White House gentleman. You are both WAY off base on too many issues!

    September 17, 2009 05:34 pm at 5:34 pm |
  10. centerleft

    Careful with your words Romney, you just might be walking them back soon. You have zero experience on foreign policy.

    September 17, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  11. Rob

    I say tomato, you say tamato. . . . Republicans will always knock other people down, it's just their way!

    September 17, 2009 05:37 pm at 5:37 pm |
  12. timothy

    Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum are wrong on this issue. What do they know other than posturing themselves for 2012. Again, to cowboys whom like to place their strength in its military might. As for me I will trust in the Lord our God.

    September 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  13. victim of republican greed

    Maybe if they are elected, they could take the money from health care, VA, post office, education, social security, medicare, transportation, police and fire departments, and build this outdated shield.

    September 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |

    I think this administration is building a missile defense without trying to force Russia into developing technology around it then "finding" allies to share it with. I think Russia hinted at that to the previous administration. Maybe all Europeon allies (the old too) were consulted

    September 17, 2009 05:38 pm at 5:38 pm |
  15. Marko,TX

    Republican Romney always finds fault with everyone and everything....well, except Rush and Rove, he kisses the ground they walk on. Enough said.

    September 17, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  16. Bethie

    Rush Limbaugh plays Mitt Romeny like a puppet on a string.

    September 17, 2009 05:39 pm at 5:39 pm |
  17. Chris - Seattle

    If you don't even know what the new plan is going to be, since you're "not" the POTUS, how can you even speak or speculate on it. Here we go again, everything th POTUS does is evil & wrong. Please shut up and begin preparation for your loss in 2012.

    September 17, 2009 05:40 pm at 5:40 pm |
  18. Nateer

    Let me guess, Mitt Romey is this weeks "rising GOP star"? Next week it'll be someone else. The Republican party is circling the drain. They all need to be flushed next election.

    September 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    Will we be forced to pay insurance for all of his wives?

    September 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  20. Farrell in Houston

    Arguments like these are stupid when Americans travel abroad on business/vacations to other countries and never worry or question them about their missle defense strategy. First Palin, who happily went to China, no questions asked and now Mitt Romney who undoubtedly is a worldwide travelor, no questions or concerns. Think about it people and don't let them start the old fear tactics.

    September 17, 2009 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  21. Loonie RIGHT

    Russia — "a potential foe."?

    This idiots know non working science fiction ain't stopping no commies from taking over poland, right?

    September 17, 2009 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  22. T Mckinley

    I wonder if Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum will be supporting Russia if and when they want to put a long range missle defense system in Venezuela and Cuba to protect South America from a possible warmongering U.S. President that may come to power some time in the future?

    No country wants another country's missles in their own back yard.

    September 17, 2009 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  23. Shelby

    Romney 2012 !!!

    September 17, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  24. S Callahan

    ouch...does this mean President is now member of FRC?

    September 17, 2009 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  25. gl, Pittsburgh

    What is news. This is getting old.

    September 17, 2009 05:48 pm at 5:48 pm |
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