Kerry takes aim at Romney over Iran
March 6th, 2012
05:18 PM ET
8 years ago

Kerry takes aim at Romney over Iran

(CNN) – Democratic Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts unleashed some harsh words Tuesday against his state's former governor turned two-time GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

The 2004 Democratic presidential nominee blasted Romney's op-ed in the Washington Post Tuesday in which the candidate sharply criticized President Barack Obama's policies toward Iran and labeled him the most "feckless" president since President Jimmy Carter.

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"While Obama frets in the White House, the Iranians are making rapid progress toward obtaining the most destructive weapons in the history of the world," Romney wrote in the op-ed.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Kerry lambasted the article, saying it was "as inaccurate as it was aggressive."

He particularly took issue with Romney's characterization of Obama as an incompetent leader and pointed to the killing of Osama bin Laden last year as the president's crowning achievement.

"George W. Bush may have said 'wanted dead or alive' but it was President Obama who delivered it," Kerry said. "I don't know if Governor Romney has checked the definition of the word feckless lately, but that raid ain't it."

The senator also argued Romney and other Republican presidential candidates were using the simmering Iran-Israel tension as a ploy to appeal to conservative voters on the campaign trail.

"I don't think that we should allow Iran to become another party's applause line on the presidential stump," Kerry said.

While Romney did not specifically spell out the kind of military action he would take in Iran, the candidate said he would complement diplomacy "with a military option that will persuade the ayatollahs to abandon their nuclear ambitions."

He also threatened to "act alone if we must" on "ever-tightening sanctions."

But Kerry, chairman of the Senate Foreign Affairs Committee, described Romney's rhetoric as irresponsible.

"Talk of war only helps Iran at this moment and others by increasing the price of Iranian crude oil that pays for its nuclear program," he said. "To create false differences with the president just to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course."

Romney's op-ed came the same day he and two other Republican candidates-Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich-spoke at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee in Washington, D.C., and two days after Obama made his remarks to the powerful lobby group.

In his first press conference of the year, Obama echoed Kerry's sentiments and targeted the Republican candidates for using Iran as a campaign topic.

"When I see the casualness with which some of these folks talk about war, I'm reminded of the costs involved in war. I'm reminded of the decision that I have to make, in terms of sending our young men and women into battle and the impacts that has on their lives, the impact it has on our national security, the impact it has on our economy," Obama said. "This is not a game, and there's nothing casual about it."

Also see:

Santorum hits Romney as 'weakest candidate'

CNN Poll: Catholic support for Romney crucial in Ohio

Anchorage snow damages GOP caucus site

Santorum fires back at Obama over Israel claim

Filed under: 2012 • AIPAC • Iran • Israel • John Kerry • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. Woman In California

    Romney is not My Hero

    Thanks for the compliment.

    March 6, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  2. jmnewt

    thats why i cant vote for war mongers..iraq war was enough,let republicans send there kids to war if they wish...this makes want to vote for obama really bad..obama 2012

    March 6, 2012 07:08 pm at 7:08 pm |
  3. neogeo

    May cooler heads prevail. The last thing we need right now, as the economy slowly recovers, is oil prices to spike again. Let's take a deep breath.

    March 6, 2012 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  4. Lizzie

    The president said when your campaigning you use rhetoric, I guess he speaks from experience.

    March 6, 2012 07:18 pm at 7:18 pm |
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