Romney slaps Obama in foreign policy op-ed
October 1st, 2012
11:15 AM ET
10 years ago

Romney slaps Obama in foreign policy op-ed

(CNN) - President Barack Obama's handling of events in the Middle East, including last month's attack on an American consulate in Libya, was the focus of a scathing op-ed from his challenger Mitt Romney Monday, and will continue to be a focus of his campaign's message, according to advisers to the GOP nominee.

The op-ed, which recycles much of what Romney has said on the stump and in interviews, asserts Obama has been weak in promoting American interests as various events unfold in the Middle East, including in Libya, Egypt, Syria and Iran. Romney has latched onto a comment Obama made during an interview in September calling incidents of unrest in the region "bumps in the road," saying it reflected a dangerous nonchalance toward serious issues of national security.

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"These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere 'bumps in the road,'" Romney writes in the op-ed, published in the Wall Street Journal. "They are major issues that put our security at risk."

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired last week, Obama said unrest in Libya would not prevent the country from developing a functioning government that adequately represents the Libyan people.

"I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance," Obama said in the interview. "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."

In the op-ed published Monday, Romney wrote Obama had placed the United States "at the mercy of events rather than shaping them."

"We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies. And that's dangerous," Romney continues. "If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom."

In his article, Romney did not specifically address questions about security at the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, ahead of the September 11 attack, which resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including the ambassador to Libya. But surrogates for Romney, including Sen. John McCain, have hammered the White House for what they said was a grave mishandling of events both before and after the attack.

"It was either willful ignorance or abysmal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours," the Republican senator told CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union" Sunday.

He argued the administration's first reading of the events in Libya had "certain political overtones."

And the conservative super PAC American Crossroads, co-founded by Karl Rove, released a video Monday harshly criticizing Obama for his response to the attacks, including not scheduling any meetings with foreign leaders during last week's United Nations General Assembly.

"President Obama needs to learn that being president isn't just about being on TV and protecting your job, it's about leadership," a narrator in the video says.

On a conference call Monday, Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said foreign policy would form part of the GOP candidate's message for the closing month of the presidential campaign, along with the economic points Romney has been hammering away at for the better part of a year.

"Gov. Romney will, over the next few weeks, crystallize the choice for voters on the issue of foreign policy and national security," Madden said, adding that Romney would "lay out a stronger vision for American foreign policy based on the strong leadership that we need to shape world events and protect American interests and ideals."

CNN's Ashley Killough contributed to this report.

Also see:

- Getting ready for Wednesday's showdown

- Ann Romney to rally while Obama preps for debate across town

- Obama to hit trail after debate

- Romney hits Obama on foreign policy in weekly podcast

- Obama talks housing market in weekly address

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (35 Responses)
  1. linda

    This last week ANN ROMNEY said she has no doubt her husband would make a good President but her one concern was the emotional part of being President.......well ANN every day the President is faced with emotional decisions (it's not all about the economy, healthcare, unemployment etc) ANN said in her own words I quote: She is concerned about his MENTAL WELLBEING.....IS this the man you want sitting by the RED NUKE BUTTON if he has a problem with MENTAL WELLBEING? Is this the man you want to have to answer that 3AM phone call in the middle of the night if he has emotional problems.......I don't know why CNN isn't all over this one.....I think it tops Romney last gaffe about the private video about the 47% victims in this country that he doesn't care about.......

    October 1, 2012 12:38 pm at 12:38 pm |
  2. Gotta Be Kiddin


    Did you (the people on this blog) not see our flags being burned in 20-plus countries, and our ambassador murdered and dragged through the streets?? And while these horrendous acts were happening, our current president, Obama, was in Las Vegas campaigning and sending his people out on news shows lying to the American people. It is outrageous that any American would say this president has dealt with foreign affairs in anything but a disastrous way. He has put our own national security at risk. Absolutely time for a new leader of our great country.

    And President Bush continued reading My Pet Goat to a classroom of kids while thousands of Americans were dying. Is that your idea of great leadership? It is outrageous that you would condemn a sitting president (don't think you would have ever done this to Pres. Bush) and you nor any other typical American are not privy to all the facts. And just what is it that you think a President Romney would do? Please tell us because Romney can't seem to be able to.

    October 1, 2012 12:43 pm at 12:43 pm |
  3. usa

    President Bush is no longer part of this discussion. But, if you insist, he kept our country safe for all the years he was in office following 9/11. You cannot compare Bush continuing reading to children – to Obama going to Las Vegas to get money and votes. There is no comparison! Obama's foreign policy is a disaster for our country ! His loyalties are elsewhere – which I find very disturbing and dangerous.

    October 1, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    "Trust him??? Not likely."

    Apparently Mitt Romney is finally understanding that "lying for the lord" is a bit harder than "lying during a job interview".

    October 1, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  5. Peggy

    Romeny talks alot about leadership, but the word diplomacy is rarely if ever heard by him. Is not leadership through Diplomacy better for our country than making threats and sending troops to show force. We teach our children to solve problems by diplomacy instead of bullying, so why should the President not try the same tactics first. Romeny shows himself as a Bully, and thinks that being a bulldozer will solve any problem. Romeny's plan would cost too much in terms of human life, but I guess he considers the military are part of the 47% that he does not have to be concerned about.

    October 1, 2012 12:49 pm at 12:49 pm |
  6. Joan

    Many countries are dreading the possibility that Romney and the Republicans could pull off a win in November. They have already been caught hiring a voter registration company that was falsifying documents in Florida and they will probably find the same in other states. They are trying to suppress the vote of old, poor, minority, non drivers who are definitely citizens but may not have picture Id. It could be a hardship physically and financially to get it. One state Republican already stated that "now Romney will get in" after his state passed the photo id law. The fear is that If Romney gets in there will most surely be intervention, probably unilaterally, in Iran and Syria. Republicans seem to like war. There is no way Romney can ever broker any kind of peace between Israel and Palestine because he has insulted Palestine so much that they would never trust him. His London trip was a disaster. His Libyan response was amateur.and self promoting to say the least. People seem to forget that any attack and violence is a terrorist attack at some level. The whole illegal and immoral Iraq war was seen as a terrorist attack by many countries in the region. Advance planning can be a couple of months, weeks or two days. Once the disgusting film started circulating it could have given the militia groups the perfect cover they needed. They obviously had the kind of weapons used at immediate dispoaal. Reports about what happened were based on rumours, assumptions and excerpts from a stolen journal which were published before the family and state department were given the information. Isn 't that tampering with evidence? Don't ever criticize the White House for supposed leaks. The Seal who wrote the book, former Republican intelligence people who speak to "anonymous sources" and your own journalists have all been leaking so much sensitive material. By the way, Libya has been collecting thousands of guns and warfare from citizens who have lined up to turn them in at the request of the government. That was covered on Canadian news this weekend but couldn't seem to find it on American news. Isn't that more newsworthy than sleazy Arnold What's His Name's book or speculating what MIGHT be said on Wednesday. I am going to watch the debate and then turn it off to make my own conclusions or listen to CBC, CTV or BBC to catch some neutral coverage.

    October 1, 2012 12:51 pm at 12:51 pm |
  7. migeli

    Does anyone remember that republicans were in the whitehouse when we were attacked on 9/11.? So if we are worried about the security of our country why do people think we would be better off with a Republican in charge

    October 1, 2012 12:53 pm at 12:53 pm |
  8. Bev

    linda romney did not say that he doesn't care about the 47% what he said was they were less likely to vote for him which is correct heaven forbid theky would have to go to work like the rest of us

    October 1, 2012 12:55 pm at 12:55 pm |
  9. Mike

    Romney has not outlined a foreign policy nor has he stated exaclty how he would handle the economy. Worse, if you look back 1 year you'll see how his stances have changed. Now look back and some of them have changed twice. He seems to say whatever will endear him to the crowd he is pseaking as shown in his now famous "47%" video. I just don't think he is trustworthy and cannot support him.

    October 1, 2012 12:58 pm at 12:58 pm |
  10. ozzie

    Lyin' Mitt said that Russia is our main threat. He cannot be trusted with our economy or our foreign policy. He now appeals solely to those who are racist, homophobic, greedy, or war-mongers. Stay awake, America. Mitt is dangerous.

    October 1, 2012 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
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