November 14th, 2009
02:12 PM ET
13 years ago

Romney accuses Obama of not protecting troops

[cnn-photo-caption image=,gi.jpg caption="Romney delivered a speech in California on Friday night.'"]
WASHINGTON (CNN)– Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney delivered a scathing criticism of President Obama's Afghanistan strategy Friday night, accusing the president of delivering rhetoric and not action in the war-torn country.

Quoting from a speech Obama delivered in March, Romney agreed with the president "that 'we are in Afghanistan to confront a common enemy that threatens the United States, our friends and allies."' Romney continued on seconding the president: "I believe 'that to succeed, we and our friends and allies must reverse the Taliban's gains, and promote a more capable and accountable Afghan government.'"

But Romney went on to criticize Obama for not holding enough meetings with top generals, and inadequately preparing for the elections in Afghanistan.

"The President has held his job for 10 months but does not yet have a strategy," Romney said during his speech before the Young America's Foundation in Santa Barbara, California. "What has he been doing that is more important than protecting the lives of the troops of which he is Commander-in-Chief? He has been campaigning- rallying at phony town meetings and making over 30 campaign stops for fellow Democrats. This President's inattention and dereliction remind me of those Northwest Airlines pilots who were so distracted from their jobs that they lost their way. But in this case, the consequences are far more severe."

Romney has been a constant critic of the Obama administration. In March, Romney accused the president of neglecting the country's needs, while posing for magazine covers, and making appearances on late night television during an interview with CNN's Larry King.

"This is a president who is learning on the fly," Romney said. "He's never turned anything around before. He hasn't had the experience of leading a nation or a business or a state in trouble. And the first rule I can tell him is focus, focus, focus. "

Since February, Romney has attended nine events for senatorial candidates, appeared at more than a dozen rallies or fundraisers for those running for governor this year or next, and spoken at almost two dozen meetings of Republican Party groups or conservative organizations. And he has finished a new book.

"This is a pivotal time in the history of our country," Romney said at his political action committee's office.
As the Republican Party searches for ways to rebound and find leaders it can turn to, Romney clearly is trying to position himself to be one of them.

In a CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll, Romney ranked third in Republicans' choice for a 2012 nominee, behind former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin; 36 percent had a favorable view of him, while 26 percent had a negative view and 37 percent weren't sure.

If Romney does decide to make another presidential run, he will have accumulated a lot of political capital that can be a crucial asset.

His political action committee, Free and Strong America, has raised more than $2.6 million this year and given out more than $118,000 in contributions, according to financial records and the PAC.

–CNN's Kevin Bohn contributed to this report.

Filed under: Mitt Romney
soundoff (80 Responses)
  1. JM

    When any Republican says anything about Afghanistan I just drown them out since they never gave a rat's you know what about doing anything in that country before now.

    November 14, 2009 03:41 pm at 3:41 pm |
  2. Jim

    "Focus, focus, focus?" The President has been focused. He has focused on the economic mess created largely by the Republicans. It is a mess that has battered America worse than the Taliban or Saddam Hussien could ever hope to. He has been focused on repairing America's image and reputation around the world, an image tarnished by Bush and Cheney. He has been focused on providing health care to millions of Americans that the Repulicans would deny insurance to just because they are poor or have pre existing conditions. He has focused on trying to build concensus while Republicans sow division and obstruction.

    Speaking of focus, to his credit George W Bush could focus too. Unfortunately, he focused on being on vacation. Nero fiddled while Rome burned.

    November 14, 2009 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  3. m jeff

    Romney is coming out of his hole after eight years, and he's talking about 10 months. What about the last administration.

    November 14, 2009 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |
  4. Karen-phoenix

    President Obama is protecting us a whole lot better than Bush ever did!!! Afganistan, Iraq DO NOT want us in their countries!!! Bring our troops home and put the money into education, jobs and health care!!! THAT will protect our country from bankruptcy!!!! God Bless President Obama!

    November 14, 2009 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  5. joc

    Someone needs to throw a shoe at this flip flopper

    November 14, 2009 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
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