Romney blasts Panetta after Afghanistan announcement
February 1st, 2012
10:50 PM ET
11 years ago

Romney blasts Panetta after Afghanistan announcement

Las Vegas, Nevada (CNN) - Mitt Romney swept into Nevada on Wednesday evening and sharply criticized Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta for declaring that the United States and NATO plan to end combat operations in Afghanistan sometime in 2013.

Romney said the public announcement jeopardizes the Afghanistan mission and “our commitments to freedom.”

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“He announced that so the Taliban hears it, the Pakistanis hear it, the Afghan leaders hear it,” Romney said of Panetta during a rally in Las Vegas. “Why in the world do you go to the people that you are fighting with and tell them the day you are pulling out your troops? It makes absolutely no sense.”

The former Massachusetts governor cast the decision as a sign of the Obama administration’s “naivete.”

“He is wrong,” Romney said, drawing a booming applause. “We need new leadership in Washington.”

The campaign stop was Romney’s first in Nevada, which holds its Republican caucuses on Saturday, since his blowout win in the Florida primary the previous night.

More than 1,000 sign-waving supporters turned out to see Romney - who appeared with his wife Ann and Nevada Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki - at Brady Industries, a janitorial supply and dry cleaning company that has been based in Las Vegas since 1947.

The trio spoke in a warehouse stocked with boxes of wholesale cleaning supplies, many of them manufactured in China.

Romney is widely considered to be the Nevada frontrunner, with Ron Paul nipping at his heels.

Krolicki acknowledged the local enthusiasm for Romney but urged the crowd not to get too confident.

“It’s not time to celebrate,” he said. “We will celebrate Saturday night.”

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Romney: Convention or bust

Santorum looks past Florida

New anti-Obama ad slams Solyndra 'fiasco'

Romney to receive Secret Service protection

Filed under: 2012 • Afghanistan • Leon Panetta • Mitt Romney • Nevada
soundoff (30 Responses)
  1. anagram_kid

    Mr. Romney speaks of 'our commitment to freedom.' Remember that this is the person who spent his days in France as a missionary to avoid service in Vietnam.

    February 1, 2012 11:14 pm at 11:14 pm |
  2. charlie avila

    It seems to me, that obama is capable of selling the united states to the evil, to win the re-election. What obama have done, is destroying the nation economically, militarily, and ashame it in front of the international community. Obama abandoned irak ahead of time, and now to apparently do something, is announcing the pull out from afganistan. He did not have the courage to intervene in syria, or iran, countries of real threats to the usa national security!!!....

    February 1, 2012 11:16 pm at 11:16 pm |
  3. anagram_kid

    More Taliban/terrorist fear mongering from the right. Here is a bit of rational fear from the left. As a US citizen, one is astronomically more likely to die of cancer, heart disease or a stroke than a terrorist attack. I would really like to see those things addressed before wasting more lives, resources and money blowing up people half way around the world. Bring our troops home!

    Obama 2012 – The only adult running.

    February 1, 2012 11:26 pm at 11:26 pm |
  4. Blindersoff

    Yeah we hear ya Mitten's . . . by the way, you have five healthy sons, lead by example. It's ok for Romney to keep the war alive with other American family, Main stream american sons putting their lives on the line for freedom, while Romney five healthy boys enjoy the privileged and the cover of their rich father's double standards. I will send your sons to die but not my five healthy boys. Wake up america, this guy is not leadership material. Period.

    February 1, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  5. Jay

    Which one of Romney's five military age sons will he be sending to Afghanistan to fight the Taliban?

    Oh, wait, sorry...I keep forgetting; it is the Plebeians who must perish for the Patricians at the edge of the empire.

    I am a veteran and I am voting for Ron Paul.

    February 1, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  6. S.B. Stein E.B. NJ

    Well, what is Romney's plan? I don't recall hearing it other than keep the troops there.

    February 1, 2012 11:29 pm at 11:29 pm |
  7. maf

    2013, still a year away, why don't the forces come home EARLY!!! Then nobody will realize what is happening and before they can gear up for major carnage at the end of 2012, there will be no more American troops in the region to find. It will be an AMAZING feat! I'd love to see Panetta meet with Romney. He would CRUSH Mitt!

    Romney just wants to keep the funds rolling into the military. Don't worry about the poor Mitt, just keep throwing good money after bad by supporting occupations that shouldn't be!!

    February 1, 2012 11:48 pm at 11:48 pm |
  8. davidg

    If we expect the Afghans to be able to take care of themselves in 2014, then we should get out of their way. Americans shouldn't fight in wars the locals can handle. This was never supposed to be a perpetual occupation by the US.

    February 1, 2012 11:55 pm at 11:55 pm |
  9. Debbie

    This is laughable. Romney is not for reducing the deficit? Leaving Afganistan would begin to reduce the deficit that blew out of proportion on Iraq and Afganistan. We have Osama bin Laden so America has fulfilled her Constitutional roll in providing for the common defense. Romney is propagandizing what the Taliban will or will not do yet he is not sitting in morning defense briefings. Panetta has done a great job and has sat in lots of defense meetings under two Presidents. Romney is pushing for war in Iran and staying in Afganistan not to provide for America's defense but for "business." Romney is willing to sacrifice my son's blood for money in his pocket through the "business" of war, but not one of his 5 sons. IF Romney is a true conservative then cutting the deficit comes first and that means cutting the war game.

    February 2, 2012 12:17 am at 12:17 am |
  10. Aaron K

    Haha, who's this Romney character? Just some guy who made a lot of money. I don't care what he has to say and neither should the Secretary of Defense. For the record, he has no chance getting elected. Have a good night.

    February 2, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  11. Thomas

    Romney ,

    Why didn't any of your five sons volunteer for military service ? Your boys could always enlist and go to Afghanistan.


    February 2, 2012 12:23 am at 12:23 am |
  12. Boo

    Hmmm. If you are so concerned about our commitment to freedom, you could have served yourself or perhaps encouraged your sons to do the same. Not so much, that's what I thought.

    February 2, 2012 12:24 am at 12:24 am |
  13. mk1

    The Republican candidates are each trying to be war monger in chief. We certainly will be at war soon if any of these idiots are ever elected. They don't have the cajones themselves to serve thus they try to show their manhood by using the military to make up for their deficiencies. Really tough guys. I am still waiting for even one of Romney's sons to enlist and do the right thing by serving their country. Can you really imagine a Romney serving in the military at their pay? I sure don't. For the record, I am a vet with a son currently serving on active duty.

    February 2, 2012 12:26 am at 12:26 am |
  14. stevetall

    SO out of touch with reality. He doesn't understand poor people, he doesn't understand our failing effort in Afghanistan and the impossibility of victory, and he doesn't understand the hypocracy of standing in a warehouse filled with Chinese-made industrial cleaning chemicals.

    Considering the fact that he protested IN FAVOR of the Viet Nam war while using his religion to keep him from fighting there, he's not really qualified to comment on people fighting and dying for no good reason at all. This clown is just that: A clown with no business being in politics.

    February 2, 2012 01:28 am at 1:28 am |
  15. mpbulletin

    THis is what McCain and many others said about Iraq and we're out of there and they country is managing without us.

    February 2, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  16. stupid is

    like romney knows whats going on. he claims to be an outsider but acts like he knows whats going on. when the people acually doin it knows. romney is a tool

    February 2, 2012 02:27 am at 2:27 am |
  17. kuewa

    So, if Romney becomes President, he will keep everything completely secret so that we know nothing about how our tax money is being spent. And does he really believe that the Taliban and Afghans rely on the US media to know if we are withdrawing troops? Unlike us, they are right there and can see what is going on.

    February 2, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  18. slade slayer

    he would have a different opinion on the matter if any of his 5 playboy sons happened to be risking their lives serving over there,easy to be a hawk as long as his kids are safe and living the high life here in the good ole USA.

    February 2, 2012 03:58 am at 3:58 am |
  19. manhandler

    Guess what Mittens...You can't even touch Obamas foreign policy record, so quit acting like you know anything about it. It was announced a year os so ago that we wanted to be outta there by 2014. Guess Mittens didn't get to hear that decision when it happened. One other thing, Mittens....the vast majority o the American people want us out of Afghanistan, You could always send all your pretty boy sons over there....or would that muss up their hair?

    February 2, 2012 04:28 am at 4:28 am |
  20. Alameda, Ca.

    Romney is afraid our President has an upper hand on cleaning up the wars which Bush started.
    Republicans are portrayed as warmongers.

    Obama/Biden 2012
    They rebuild USA

    February 2, 2012 04:35 am at 4:35 am |
  21. Ben

    It is time to bring our troops home. We need every penny to rebuild America here at home. If Romney want to contue the war, he have enough money to send his children to continue the war, but America cannot afford these endless wars any more. This war should have been over years ago. Just bring our troops home.

    February 2, 2012 04:41 am at 4:41 am |
  22. I'm Voting for Obama 2012!

    Romney has the failed Bush Neocons foreign policies advising him. As the saying goes' that dog won't hunt, because Romney has it strap to the car".

    February 2, 2012 05:23 am at 5:23 am |

    These people voted for Sharon Angle in a primary.

    February 2, 2012 06:01 am at 6:01 am |
  24. Candy Taylor

    Of course Romney's against bringing our troops home...he's a republican! War, protect the rich and souless corporations, destroy the middle class, that is the republican mantra! Bring our troops home! We got Ben Laden hasn't there been enough death and tax dollars spent? Let the Afghans take responsibilty for their own country!

    February 2, 2012 06:17 am at 6:17 am |
  25. Marry

    “…jeopardizes the Afghanistan mission and “our commitments to freedom.”
    Ah, yes, the know “all” GOP/TP planning to spread “freedom” again where they are not wanted and have no influence besides paying the corrupt at home and abroad. Then “deficits don’t matter” but when it is about building infrastructure, healthcare, education, etc. they scream “hand-out” and "small government". Here it is for you: Party of NO SENSE!
    President Obama 2012!

    February 2, 2012 06:54 am at 6:54 am |
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