Romney criticizes Obama on Iraq
October 22nd, 2011
06:13 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney criticizes Obama on Iraq

(CNN) – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Saturday continued his attacks on President Barack Obama for announcing the withdrawal of virtually all U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of the year, decrying it as a "sudden change of policy."

The presidential candidate said the Obama administration had indicated earlier they were working to have a status of forces agreement with Iraq that would keep a larger sum of troops in Iraq "for some extended period of time" or until the United States could hand off operations to the Iraqi military.

"Either they failed to do it, either by virtue of ineptitude, or they decided that it wasn't that important - politically or otherwise," Romney told reporters at his New Hampshire campaign headquarters.

Obama announced Friday that almost all of the 39,000 remaining troops in Iraq will return by December 31, making good on a 2008 campaign pledge to end the war.

Soon after the president made the announcement, Romney's campaign responded with a statement questioning Obama's decision as a "naked political calculation."

Romney didn't outline his recommendations for troop withdrawal, but argued the president was removing troops too soon.

"I believe that you listen to the commanders on the ground and understand from them what the timetable is to transition entirely to the Iraqi military," Romney said.

Filed under: 2012 • Iraq • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (99 Responses)
  1. Amazing

    The President has prevented us from getting engage in another Vietnam by ending the Iraq War. It is time to get our boys out. The difference between Iraq and Libya is that Libya was liberated by its people whereas the US invaded Iraq not to free the Iraqis but because there were wapons of mass destruction. No one can be surprised that Republicans will not give Obama any credit for cleaning up the mess left by Bush and Cheney.

    October 22, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  2. Tom

    How many of his children have served in Iraq?

    October 22, 2011 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
  3. usualone

    Romney could have mentioned his opposition when President Obama first brought it up in 2008. Romney looks silly with this round, and he just doesn't get it. He is also lucky, by birth situation, that his sons and he have not been involved in any combat and obviously has no empathy for other Americans. He did this in business and now he is doing it towards our service people.

    October 22, 2011 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  4. once upon a horse

    Mitt needs to find out his facts before he shoots off his mouth. What President Obama is doing is what former President Bush had signed before he left office. Plus the Iraqi people do NOT want our presence over there any more. It is good for us to know though that as POTUS Mitt would keep our men and women over there until no end. When they come home this year for the holidays NOT ONE of these so-called 2012ers had better say anything about welcoming our troops home. It would be the upmost of hypocrisy..but then again the GOP is good for that.

    October 22, 2011 07:20 pm at 7:20 pm |
  5. Tom

    Romney would keep the troops in Iraq even though they would be subject to trial and conviction by an Iraqi court for doing their jobs as soldiers? Amazing what an arm chair warrior will do in order to keep the oil flowing to China and Russia. The President is correct on this one in protecting the troops and standing strong for America's interest.

    October 22, 2011 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  6. jen

    this idioit wants to keep wasting our money and more innocent men and woman die for a sensless war that got us in the mess we are now. you vote for this guy you will get the same as what we had with bush.

    obama/biden 2012

    October 22, 2011 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  7. gate

    The majority of Americans and Iraqis want our troops to leave. That is how democracy works. Get used to it.

    October 22, 2011 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
  8. Lost in Texas FOREVER

    it is quite obvious that the GOP has decided to come out against President Obama no matter what he says or does, but I have a feeling that this just might backfire this time. First of all what the president is doing is just carrying out what former President Bush agreeded to do with Iraq before he left office, we were supposed to leave by the end of 2011. And on top of that the majority of Americans WANT our troops back home. Nine years and many lives lost is enough. Are any of these so-called 2012ers willing to face the families of our troops and tell them that they should NOT be home for the holidays this year and just stay over there because Obama says it's time to end this war? I think Mitt, Michelle, Herman, and any other Republican will be on the wrong side of history if this is their stand.

    October 22, 2011 07:36 pm at 7:36 pm |
  9. Charlie in Maine

    The last time we let an idiot from your party run our wars we got into an unecessary quagmire in Iraq and took our eyes off the ball where we should have been in Afganistan. So believe me when I tell you that neither I nor my President gives a rats derriere about your advice in this or any other area.

    October 22, 2011 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  10. nyc dem

    The GOP is so out of touch

    October 22, 2011 07:40 pm at 7:40 pm |
  11. ARTRaveler

    Doesn't Romney know that his guy, President Bush signed an agreement that the US withdraw all troops by the end of 2011 and President Obama has been working on an agreement to allow some to stay behind to train Iraqi troops but the Iraaq government refuses to give them immunity. The decision was made by a Republican president opver 3 years ago and right or wrong, it is a treaty. Now I know that Republicans like wars since none of their kids go and get in harm's way, but if you want a war, increase taxes to pay for it. We have $4 trilion in debt due to President Bush/Cheney's ill-advised wars with no funding attached and fancy accounting games to "keep the war off-budget" while running up the Chinese Exprtess credit card.

    October 22, 2011 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  12. dcol

    Of course he doesn't like it. It makes Obama look good. So what Romney, want to keep our soldiers over there forever. You lost my vote.

    October 22, 2011 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  13. idknothing

    He is just upset that he can't claim in a debate that Obama didn't keep his promise. Even Romney has to know that supporting troops in Iraq past this year would be political suicide..

    October 22, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  14. pat

    Why do all GOP candidates find it necessary to critize this President for anything and everything even when he does good? What is astonishing is that the news media goes along with this bashing.

    October 22, 2011 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  15. Name king

    These repugs are amazing, they criticize Obama for the debt crisis, yet when Obama tries to put a dent in the 2 billion a week funds for the 2 wars they goes hay wire. They criticize Obama for silindra, yet if obam tries to regulate private companies to over see how they use government money, repugs would have a fits and accuse Obama of government over reach. They scream about jobs jobs bobs, yet they shot down Obama's job bill which independent economist said would create 2 million jobs right off the top. they want to push tax cuts and deregulations, when polls states that only 0.2 percent of jobs lost is because of regulation, and now we have the lowest taxes in 60 years, and we still cannot create jobs. Someone ppplllleease tell these repugs that trickle down economics doesnt work in a global economy, 11 years have given proof to that.

    October 22, 2011 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  16. DEE EM

    Oh and MIttens HAS talked to commanders on the ground. If Obama said the troops were staying this Mittens acrobat / flippemoblie would have said, "oooh he kept them there too long" What Mittens? Not enough dead GI's for you?

    October 22, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  17. GOP = Greed Over People

    Tell us again, Mittens, how many of those 5 sons of yours are in harm's way?

    The war mongering GOP, always willing to kill other people's kids!

    Put YOUR sons in the danger zone or STFU!

    October 22, 2011 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  18. Mike Dallas

    Time to put your sons where your mouth is!

    October 22, 2011 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  19. Spock500

    "...a naked political calculation." "Romney didn't outline his recommendations for troop withdrawal, but [at the same time] argued the president was removing troops too soon."

    Way to go, Mr. Romney. Bravo! Encore!

    October 22, 2011 08:10 pm at 8:10 pm |
  20. Annie, Atlanta

    This from a guy who's only foreign policy experience is dismantling American companies and shipping jobs overseas? I wish is was October 2012, because we have another year of this circus act, and the ensuing media feeding frenzy, while "Rome" is still burning.

    October 22, 2011 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  21. yu

    That dude shows he's a real idiot. What the hell we doing in Iraq anyway

    October 22, 2011 08:17 pm at 8:17 pm |
  22. Dex

    No plan or clue!! Another classic example of GOP leadership.."Romney didn’t outline his recommendations for troop withdrawal, but argued the president was removing troops too soon." God help us if they get the Whitehouse and Congress.

    October 22, 2011 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  23. VA VERY Ex Republican

    and they call Obama a liar. unbelievable. how low a human being can go selling all his values just to win the WH. This is not about the people or what"s good for the country. this is about power and about self serving interest. The unjust Iraq war is what took this country down the drain and cutting our loses and preserving the lives of the troops and using the monthly cost towards improving the economy is not good according to Mitt Flip?????? so what is it guys???? if Obama wants to stop the war and focus on the economy then he is wrong, and if he wants to continue the war then he is still wrong. you are honestly driving us nuts. and YES, with or without Obama being elected to a 2nd term. I made my decision and I am moving oversees. I can no longer live a society that is governed by stupidity, hate, ignorance, racism, and anger. As much as this decision breaks my heart as much as I want to preserve my sanity and have my kids grow up in a healthy environment. this is not democracy or freedom of speach. this is just abig lie all of us live in. CNN, post, do not post, I honestly do not care. but if you decide to post then I would love for you to have a debate forum where we the people can debate our politicians.

    October 22, 2011 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  24. dreucalypt

    It's not a sudden change of policy. He is pulling out exactly when he promised the Iraqi government we would. It's also when President Bush promised we would too. Romney is being his usual shifty opportunist self.

    October 22, 2011 08:35 pm at 8:35 pm |
  25. Independent Voter

    Romney how you going to criticizes president Obama and you dont have any foreign policy background I will trust president Obama over Romney anytime over foreign policy,

    Obama/Biden 2012

    October 22, 2011 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
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