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Romney delivers stinging indictment of Obama’s foreign policy record

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Rich Pedroncelli / AP

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the 113th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars, Tuesday, July 24, 2012, in Reno.

Updated Tuesday, July 24, 2012 | 3:11 p.m.

Mitt Romney in Reno: 7/24/12

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses the 113th National Convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Reno, Nev. Tuesday July 24, 2012.(AP Photo/Rich Pedroncelli) Launch slideshow »

Romney visits veterans in Reno

KSNV reports that presidential candidate Mitt Romney spoke to a crowd of Reno veterans on Tuesday, July 24.

RENO — Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney took aim at President Barack Obama’s foreign policy record during a speech before the VFW today, accusing Obama of putting troops at risk with national security leaks, mistreating America’s most important allies and kowtowing to despotic leaders.

In a stark contrast to Obama’s speech to the same convention Monday, Romney delivered a series of heated attacks against the administration in an address suited for the campaign trail.

In one of his most pointed assaults, Romney questioned whether the White House was complicit in a series of leaks to the New York Times, accusing the administration of leaking sensitive information for political gain.

“This conduct is contemptible,” Romney said. “It betrays our national interest. It compromises our men and women in the field. And it demands full and prompt investigation, with explanation and consequence.”

Romney said the American people deserve an explanation for the leaks.

“If the President believes — as he said last week — that the buck stops with him, then he owes all Americans a full and prompt accounting of the facts,” Romney said.

Romney echoed calls from Sen. John McCain and others in Congress for an investigation following two New York Times stories on the administration’s cyber war against Iran and Obama’s so-called terrorist “kill list.”

Responding to those calls for investigations in June, White House press secretary Jay Carney told reporters the Obama administration “takes all appropriate and necessary steps to prevent leaks of classified information, of sensitive information that could risk ongoing counterterrorism or intelligence operations."

“Any suggestion that the White House has leaked sensitive information for political purposes has no basis in fact and has been denied by the authors themselves,” he told the press gaggle.

Romney struck a vastly more political tone in his VFW speech than Obama did one day earlier.

While Obama borrowed a few times from his stump speech, lobbed a few oblique attacks Romney’s way and complained about Republicans in Congress, he focused more on his work on veterans programs.

Romney did not take a similar tack.

“And let me be clear: These events make the decision we face in November all the more important,” he said of the national security leaks. “What kind of White House would reveal classified material for political gain? I’ll tell you right now: Mine won’t.”

On Israel, Romney accused Obama of the “shabby treatment of one of our finest friends.” He accused Obama of a “politically timed” retreat in Afghanistan," which could lead to more war and “attacks here at home.” He mocked Obama for calling to congratulate Vladimir Putin when he won the presidency “in a corrupt election.”

Romney also sought to set the tone for his upcoming foreign policy tour. He left Reno for London, his first stop on a tour of three countries.

Trying to distinguish his world view from Obama’s, Romney delivered a foreign policy statement strongly rooted in American exceptionalism.

“I do not view America as just one more point on the strategic map, one more power to be balanced,” Romney said. “I believe our country is the greatest force for good the world has ever known, and that our influence is needed as much now as ever.”

Obama entered the presidency intent on repairing America’s image abroad and mending relationships with allies to better meet national security threats.

He brought a close to the Iraq War and is closing the Afghanistan War and has led a more tactical effort against terrorist leaders.

In his speech Monday, Obama put it this way: “We’re not just ending these wars; we’re doing it in a way that achieves our objectives. Moreover, it’s allowed us to broaden our vision and begin a new era of American leadership. We’re leading from Europe to the Asia Pacific, with alliances that have never been stronger. Because we’re leading around the world, people have a new attitude toward America. There’s more confidence in our leadership.”

Obama’s Nevada campaign spokeswoman Aoife McCarthy fired back that Romney lost credibility by relying on “cheap attacks.”

“With all of the complex global challenges facing our nation today, Gov. Romney’s much-hyped foreign policy speech once again is all bluster, offering no specific plans for our relations with any region of the world,” McCarthy said.

This story has been updated to no longer make reference to a disputed quote.

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  1. Two rods Romney: Tax Returns.

  2. Mittens has NO FOREIGN POLICY EXPERIENCE, period. His little trip overseas is for ONE REASON; FUND RAISING FOR HIS DEGENERATE CAMPAIGN. Nothing more, nothing less.

  3. Re truthiness. Romney's entire campaign to this point has been fiction. A glimmer of his "economic plan" can be seen in this week's Bloomberg Businessweek Magazine. In and interview with Glenn Hubbard, Romney's economic adviser, Tom Keene asked the question "Can you be more specific about the Romney plan?" Hubbard responded as follows; "It means tax reform (meaning what?)that could raise long-term growth over the next decade by about half a percentage point every year (wishful thinking); (my parentheses). It means entitlement reform that removes the chance of large tax increases (meaning what?). It means getting federal spending down to its traditional share of GDP. It means getting regulation that actually passes cost-benefit analysis, something this administration has not done. And free trade." In other words, Reaganomics; a failed pile of GOP crap with no positive results for the country, and Reagan himself raised taxes 8 times during his reign. Hang on to your wallets if Romney is elected. The hyperbole spewed by Hubbard is more smoke and mirrors by the Romney campaign.

  4. The only way to counter Romney's distortions, lies, and misinformation is for people to read a variety of national, international news.

    Romney is so prolific at this that it places the responsibility on every citizen to know the truth so they are not bamboozled into believing lies.

    If we don't take our responsibilities seriously, we are going to be continuing everything that previously led us to the economic crisis, the loss of respect worldwide, and the decline of our nation....yes, decline!

    I cannot respect any person that seeks power so much that he is willing to do the things Romney does.

    Why do people accept only accusations
    and distortions spewed out, as well as nothing but shovels full of fantasy as Romney's policy, without substance.

    The world has changed, and Romney appears to have no idea how much. Are American's so ignorant, so out of touch, so in denial that they honestly believe this stuff?

    Doesn't anyone try to verify the statements he makes?

  5. Supporting Romney is like opening the door of your house and inviting in the robber who just sold off everything he stole from you during his last visit.

    I wonder what is in the pizza boxes the cockroach tries to deliver to the house?

  6. Does Romney know that the Likud, Netanyahu's party, was once a terrorist organization, by our definitions?

    They don't seem to be able to shake the old ways either, and as a result, we keep trying to protect them.

    Maybe it is time to allow Israel to live out it's biblical destiny which flows from their own actions.

    Israel needs a good prophet to call them to change their ways or face calamity, in the tradition of the many prophets in their history.

    As long as we keep doing what we do, there is no need for Israel to change and do what they must do to save themselves.

  7. Stinging? It can only be stinging if it were true. Romney has no foreign policy experience unless you count the years he spent in France while on his 4 deferments from the US Military.

  8. Comment removed by moderator. Inappropriate

  9. And when Obama was elected he had WHAT for foreign policy experience?

    http://www.nytimes.com/2008/04/10/us/pol...

    http://www.boston.com/news/politics/poli...

    Seems that the lack of foreign policy experience folks are blasting Romney for here applied to an ever greater degree to Obama when he was running for President.

  10. @ peacelily...

    "Supporting Romney is like opening the door of your house and inviting in the robber who just sold off everything he stole from you during his last visit."

    What is it about that statement that TeaNuts don't understand?

    "Let's go back to the Bush era policies."
    "Let's go back to the good ole days when we robbed ya blind!"
    "Let's go back to the good ole days when you burned your trash in your backyard! That was GREAT fun!"
    "We need to get rid of everything we don't like that costs $$$ to operate;
    The Dept's of Energy & Education, along with the EPA, ADC, NPR, PBS, NWS, and anything that even SOUNDS 'touchy-feely or namby pamby'!!!..."

    Here's the Mitt-Witt's Foreign Policy position...

    "We need to build up the Military/Industrial Complex! We're STARVING them to death! America is at SERIOUS RISK!"

    Too, too funny.

  11. Strange how back in 2008 it was not important for Senator Obama, the junior senator/community organizer, to have any foreign policy experience. Yet, 20+ years of successful business experience is disqualifying for Mitt Romney? Dealing with CEO's and CFO's and attorneys is somehow less qualifying than President Obama teaching constitutional law?
    Our current financial troubles are enormous, to the point that even Ben Bernanke is admitting that we may go into a second recession. Mitt Romney like President Obama will learn as he goes, the priority is America and getting our economy back on a faster track to recovery.

  12. Romney hasn't mentioned Iraq yet - the most expensive war ever fought and against a 'third world' country at that, for no reason other then to have a war. Bush killed more Americans then bin Laden but Willard forgets easy - maybe because he has the same plan?

    Not a single one of Willard's five sons has ever joined the military, even in peace time, even in a safe service like the Air Force or Navy. One of the Romney boys even has his own Capital Investment firm, making money because of privileged introductions and financial backing not available at banks.

    War is for other people's families and Willard will deploy the underprivileged in an instant.

  13. In the Huff Post today:

    "Commander of the second-largest concentration camp complex of World War II -- Croatia's Jasenovac -- passed away last week and received a burial in his homeland -- in full Nazi uniform, with full honors, and with a Catholic priest officiating."

    Nazis gave 10% to their Church too.

  14. ... LMAO all-THEE-way from Bflo./Niagara!?! As an international, award-winning Print-Journalist of 39+ yrs. in-thee-mainstream & gay media on both coasts, (who started his career at thee R/J-in-'73!), I can safely say what-A-jerk Willard-MITTENS-Romney IS! The-WORST-"Flip Flopper" EVER, I'd like to know-HOW-Romney can-FINANCIALLY-support a "church," which-STILL-supports "aversion shock therapy" for LGBTQ members! I know, since I was excommunicated for "being Gay" after 15-yrs. membership & experienced thee annual "Witch Hunt" for Gays at BYU!

  15. And about when can we stop giving billions and billions of "aide" and "training" to those who want to kill us off? Egypt, Afghanistan, Pakistan....

  16. sportyyetprat,

    I can answer one of your "why's".

    "I'm still waiting to know why this country got embroiled in a trillion dollar war that had nothing to do with 9-11."

    France and Russia had a contract with Saddam to build an oil pipeline. China was also included in the deal some way.

    Remember that France & Russia were the two countries that objected to the UN Security Council taking punitive action on Iraq and approving US military intervention.

    Iraq's abundant oil was our goal. Saddam had previously banned all American oil companies.

    However, our actions in the Iraq war didn't accomplish what it was supposed to. Our approach went on too long, we wore out our welcome, and became the substitute Saddam. Billions stolen, and oil didn't come as was expected, only excuses.

    There is a great lesson in the Iraq war!

    Next, Iran.

    Oh, yes, who ended up getting contracts to Iraqi oil reserves?

    British Petroleum
    Britain's Shell
    Malaysia's Petronas
    State owned giants in China and India

    Chevron was banned by Iraq.

  17. When are the Romney Zombies going to ask their candidate for specifics?

    We've heard their refrain "Errrrr.... Obama BAD! Obama debt! Obama take guns! Errrrr....."

    Yet they support a candidate who has NO specific foreign policy goals and NO specific foreign policy plans!

    When will the Romney Zombies snap out of it and ask their candidate what he would actually do as President?

    They whined in 2008 (and 2009, and 2010, and 2011, and 2012) that Obama wasn't vetted, yet they haven't asked for ANY specifics from their own candidate.

    We know where Obama stands. Romney's donned the "Monday Morning Quarterback" jersey and has taken the coward's road.

    What, specifically, would Romney do differently in Afghanistan?

    What, specifically, would he do differently in Israel?

    What, specifically, would he do differently in Egypt?

    What, specifically, would he do differently in Syria?

    You'd think Romney's supporters would be able to answer these simple questions. Unfortunately, the Zombies just continue shuffling about, mumbling Obama's name.

  18. What intel did the white house leak? Did they leak the name of a CIA agent for political purposes? Then cover it up. Then when congress pressed, let someone take the fall? Then immediately pardoned him after he was convicted?

    No silly, that was the last REPUBLICAN administration....

  19. I would like to point out that the Whitehouse didn't have to leak anything on the US-Israel cyberattack on Iran's nuclear program.

    It was well described on the by those who know programming and security in multiple places. It was an alert.

    It was discovered and revealed by a highly respectable computer security firm, and various other computer coding specialists who worked to learn what was happening, how and why, including identifying who was involved, and the danger to personal computers around the world.

    It was only after the identity of the source was made clear & public that there was some confirmation that was published.

    There are experts in Internet security who feel it is necessary to protect people from malicious acts, even if one side or another claims it is in a nation's interest.

  20. A republican is going to be tougher and tougher to elect as the middle class continues to shrink. The lower middle and poor will vote democratic. The only thing that's left are the rich and there aren't enough of them.

    Republicans better find a way to stop the disintegration of the middle class. Those seeking help will morph towards democrats.

  21. TomD1228 may be correct, but what will happen once the leaders of the Democrat Party (who themselves are in the 1% or close to it) realize they have created a monster and it is very hungry?

  22. Good ol' Romney. I think he would do the right thing if push came to shove, but he just loves throwing red meat to pander to the crowd in front of him at the moment.

    Obama is just more believable, and although I may not agree on everything with him, at least I know what I'm gonna get. As a registered Republican, I would like to vote for Mitt BUT .... I won't.

  23. TomD1228: Not really. Much of the middle class has already figured out that Mr. O wants one more year of tax cuts and then it's onto the high rise in rates for everybody working. Those who are working are going to have to work longer and harder to keep subsidizing the forever-dependent whiners who want more and more but will do less or nothing.

  24. Jeff, that is the clincher for me. I will vote against Romney.

    While he was laying the foundation of Bain Capital and his wealth with the blood flowing as a result of butcher's, corrupt politician's and the oligarcy, I was a Christian missionary trying to save Salvadoran lives.

    It is against my belief and knowledge to vote for Romney.

    Just as Romney will do and say anything to gain power, so he will ignore the suffering of the innocent in a whole country in order to make money from baby killers, murders, rapists, and torturer's.

    It is flat our sinful and a blasphemy. It shows the level of his lack of integrity.

  25. Roslenda:
    More taxes..
    The Democrat in the Senate approved their tax plan which raises taxes on the "rich."
    The Estate Tax will be (I read) 55% on any inheritance over $1 million.
    The largest transfer of wealth ever, in America and possibly in the history of the world, is in progress right now..
    The boomers are inheriting from their folks..and I also read a truly laughable piece that this tax hike will only affect about 50,000 people
    I doubt many people really care about Romney's tax returns..although Pelosi's might be very interesting..but those boomers do care about their..inherited..retirement accounts..

  26. @ BobbyG (Bobby Gladd), July 24, 2012, 1:24 p.m
    http://www.bgladd.com/VainCapital.gif

    >>>You so funny. That's hilarious. >>>

  27. I read Romney's speech..as I read Obama's and I was impressed with Romney's.
    This is a very good speech..I haven't been much taken with Romney..The speech he delivered at the NAACP was pure "rotary club" but if he keeps this up..he is worth listening to..Notice what he says about China..I think he know what he is talking about in the "free trade" area.
    http://foxnewsinsider.com/2012/07/24/tra...

  28. Susan
    If a person pays taxes on his/her money..he/she can bury it in the back yard..put it in a chest and sink it in the ocean..or keep it is offshore accounts..or swiss lock boxes..
    So far, I haven't seen any evidence that Romney did not pay all taxes due on the money he keeps. in accounts we know about because he Declared them.
    Romney paid taxes at a rate of 15% and Gave 16% to charity. I commend that as I think private charity spends charity dollars more better than public..and with much more accountability.

  29. peacelily - "The only way to counter Romney's distortions, lies, and misinformation is for people to read a variety of national, international news."

    Absolutely, it didn't take me very long to find a few issues "Etch a Sketch" Romney flipped on.

    Flip - I like mandates. The mandates work.
    Flop - I think it's unconstitutional on the 10th Amendment front.

    Flip - I will work and fight for stem cell research.
    Flop - In the end, I became persuaded that the stem-cell debate was grounded in a false premise.

    Flip - I think the minimum wage ought to keep pace with inflation.
    Flop - There's no question raising the minimum wage excessively causes a loss of jobs.

    Flip - I respect and will protect a woman's right to choose.
    Flop - I never really called myself pro-choice.

    Flip - I saw my father march with Martin Luther King.
    Flop - I did not see it with my own eyes.

    Flip - I believe that since Roe v. Wade has been the law for 20 years we should sustain and support it.
    Flop - Roe v. Wade has gone too far.

    Flip - It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam.
    Flop - I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.

    Flip - Romney refused to take a position on Bush's massive, 10-year tax cut plan." (Boston Herald 4/11/03)
    FLOP - McCain opposed President Bush's tax cuts, Romney noted. 'I supported them,' the former governor said."

    Flip - Cited his support for the assault rifle ban and the Brady gun control law. 'That's not going to make me the hero of the NRA,' he said. 'I don't line up with a lot of special interest groups.'" (Boston Herald, 9/23/94
    Flop - "I'm after the NRA's endorsement. I'm not sure they'll give it to me. I hope they will. I also joined because if I'm going to ask for their endorsement, they're going to ask for mine.'" (The Associated Press, 4/5/07)

    Flip - "I concur that climate change is beginning to have an effect on our natural resources and that now is the time to take action" (Boston Herald, 7/24/03)
    Flop - Republicans should never abandon pro-growth conservative principles in an effort to embrace the ideas of Al Gore." (Romney For President, Press Release, 2/23/07)

    FLIP - In 1994 Romney called President Bill Clinton's 'don't ask, don't tell' military policy 'the first of a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military.'"
    FLOP - Romney defended his policy switch on gays in the military. He said when he first heard the phrase 'don't ask, don't tell,' he thought it was 'kind of a silly phrase that didn't make a lot of sense.'

    FLIP - Mitt Romney broke with GOP tradition and refused to sign the Americans for Tax Reform pledge.
    FLOP - Almost five years after he refused to sign a 'no new taxes' pledge during his campaign for governor, Mitt Romney announced that he had done just that.

    Romney was for a Path To Citizenship, then against it.