April 1st, 2012
01:09 PM ET
11 years ago

Clinton criticizes Romney's remarks on Russia

(CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back Sunday against Mitt Romney's comments this week that Russia is America's main "geopolitical foe."

Labeling Romney's words as "dated," Clinton said in an interview with CNN there were more pressing matters of concern in global affairs.

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"I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree," Clinton told CNN Foreign Affairs Correspondent Jill Dougherty.

On Monday, Romney set off a firestorm of criticism when he described Russia as the country's primary enemy.

"In terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council, and as of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe," Romney said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Romney's rivals, Republicans and Democrats alike, immediately jumped on his remarks and used them as an opportunity to paint the candidate as out of touch on foreign policy issues.

Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, also faulted Romney for the comment, saying it was "reminiscent of Hollywood."

While in Turkey for a conference on Sunday, Clinton held back from diving too heavily into politics but argued Russia no longer posed the threat it did in the 20th century.

"If you take a look at the world today, we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past, but are of the moment," Clinton said, pointing to Iran and its suspected nuclear development program as an example. "In many of the areas where we are working to solve problems, Russia has been an ally."

Echoing those sentiments, Vice President Joe Biden also weighed in Sunday on Romney's comments.

"Romney acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on, Russia is still our major adversary. I don't know where he's been," Biden said on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

The vice president pointed to Russia's cooperation in transmitting material to troops in Afghanistan, as well as its participation in sanctions against Iran.

"This is not 1956," he added.

Responding to the barrage of attacks over his comments, Romney's campaign put out a statement earlier in the week defending the candidate's position on Russia.

"In contrast to President Obama, Governor Romney is clear-eyed about the geopolitical challenges Russia poses," Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said in a statement. "Russia's nuclear arsenal, its energy resources, its geographic position astride Europe and Asia, the veto it wields on the UN Security Council, and the creeping authoritarianism of its government make Russia a unique geopolitical problem that frustrates progress on numerous issues of vital concern to the United States."

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

Filed under: 2012 • Dmitry Medvedev • Hillary Clinton • Joe Biden • Mitt Romney • Russia
soundoff (24 Responses)
  1. Texas Bob

    When it comes to world affairs the GOP candidates do not seem to have a clue.

    April 1, 2012 01:12 pm at 1:12 pm |
  2. Four and The Door

    Meanwhile, Russia continues to arm Assad in Syria and provide nuclear and missile technology to Iran. No, Vice President Biden this is not 1956. It is 2012. And not a minute too early.

    Romney 2012

    April 1, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  3. Wire Palladin, S. F.

    Mittens is out of his ever lovin' mind. He wants a war with Iraq, and has named Russia our number 1 enemy. To pay for Mittens' war, he wants to reduce taxes on the wealthy.

    April 1, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  4. Stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney has no real grasp of the current worldwide political situation. And now his staff is being forced to claim his words are todays reality. The Berlin Wall is down, Russia is helping us in Afganistan and the Middle East, the space race is a co-operative effort and Moscow is becoming a capitalist beacon in the former Soviet Empire. Catch up Mitt. Look at something other than Fox News and findout what is going on in the world.

    April 1, 2012 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  5. basky

    An hetch a sketch...Flip Flopper...can say anything do anything to get nominated. obama/Biden

    April 1, 2012 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  6. PJ/TX

    And Mr. Lanhee Chen just made the case that MItt Romney is not "clear-eyed" on how irresponsible his and
    Romney's comments are on foreign affairs. They stir the pot of fear and show no signs of understanding
    that their remarks are heard around the world, and sound threatening to some. Romney is trying so hard
    to "fit in" everywhere, he ends up appearing to fit nowhere. Just what America does not need, now or ever.

    April 1, 2012 01:50 pm at 1:50 pm |
  7. Claudia, Phoenix, AZ

    Republicans are so out of touch with the American people so how can we expect any less from them when it comes to World affairs, they only desire war, war on the poor and war with the World.

    April 1, 2012 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  8. ddt

    Mitt should go back and work at Bain Capital, he has no chance winning the white house..........nadaa

    April 1, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  9. GOP is for the rich

    Why do we have to have a 'foe?'....oh, yeah. So we can spend billions on defense with no questions asked!

    April 1, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  10. G

    Romney is not only out of touch with the average American, he's out of touch with the world.

    April 1, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  11. Bettsie

    "The Rooskies are coming. The Rooskies are coming!" ain't gonna work anymore Tea/Republicans.

    April 1, 2012 02:10 pm at 2:10 pm |
  12. GOP is for the rich

    Are you sure he didn't 'mis-speak'? That will be next.
    Sign his sons up....looks like there WILL be a war.....just don't know with who, yet.

    April 1, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  13. Emmy Skaddittle

    so if Romney wins, he will start off with a war with iran and enemy with Russia? great

    April 1, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  14. B

    I take it that Mitt Romney is not a student of history.

    April 1, 2012 02:16 pm at 2:16 pm |
  15. Dave Harris

    Romney is speaking here to the Republican base, mostly old people now dependent on government handouts, who grew up in the era when Russia really was the 'number one enemy'. They've never really gotten used to the changed, more complicated world, and they're not about to do that now. These people are the Great Republican Hope. Victory through ignorance.

    April 1, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
  16. Kevin

    History can repeat itself even in 21st Century my friend. I am glad you trust the KGB thug Putin. It’s not hard to see why Vladimir Putin saw fit to take precious time out today in the aftermath of Russia’s controversial parliamentary elections last Sunday to meet with Venezuela’s vice-president, Elias Jaua. Much to the discomfort of Washington, the two countries are developing an ever cosier bilateral relationship and Russia’s state-run oil giant Rosneft announced a $2.6bn deal today to develop Venezuela’s extra-heavy crude oil reserves in the Orinoco. Romney has it right. 95% of nuclear armaments controlled by Russia and US not China not North Korea. Russia has a 10-1 advantage with tactical nuclear weapons and is not willing to negotiate on tactical nuclear weapons. Putin the former KGB thug visited US foe Venezuela Hugo Chavez for arms and oil deal in 2010. Reminds me of story of boy who picks up a poisonous snake after the snake assures the boy he would not bite him. After being bitten by the snake, the snake tells the boy "you knew I was a snake when you picked me up."

    April 1, 2012 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  17. roro

    Romney is one big gaffe after another. Imagine these gaffes by a sitting president? If the Republicans claim the world doesn't respect us anymore, imagine our image with big gaffers like Romney. He's a world-class, upper class, I'm not worried about the poor, the trees are just the right height, elevator for his expensive cars lightweight. Be afraid, be truly afraid. He will take us back to the policies that brought about this mess we're now in. Is that what we really want?

    April 1, 2012 03:02 pm at 3:02 pm |
  18. Just Say No to Flipper

    What little Rmoney thinks he knows about foreign policy is actually neocon propaganda he learned from his elitist parasite buddies lurking among the 1%.

    April 1, 2012 03:11 pm at 3:11 pm |
  19. GI Joe

    Rmoney wants all our TOP SECRETS put on the front page of every news paper.

    Loose Lips sink ships. What has happened to the republicans?

    April 1, 2012 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  20. GI Joe

    BUT.......... Rmoney won't show his tax papers when he worked for Bain. Hmmmmmmmm.

    April 1, 2012 03:24 pm at 3:24 pm |
  21. Ken

    Mitt, still living in the 1970's.

    April 1, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  22. Dennis

    Oh No, she didn't!

    April 1, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  23. Ryan D

    Makes me comforted when she calls Iran a problem of now and not the past... Iran today is a direct result of us installing the shah... She needs to learn some history..

    April 1, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  24. Nathan

    Romney meant that Russia is our #1 geo-political foe, in the same sense that Democrats and Republicans are political foes.

    April 1, 2012 03:47 pm at 3:47 pm |