GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney continued his hot streak Monday afternoon with a hard-hitting foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., which he used to accuse the President of ‘leading from behind’ in the Middle East.
“Unfortunately, this President’s policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership,” Romney said.
Romney gave a whole host of examples of how the President has failed to provide the “principled global leadership” and said that if elected President he would work t0 “win new friends” in the Middle East – “friends who are fighting for their own futures against the very same violent extremists, and evil tyrants, and angry mobs who seek to harm us.
“There is a longing for American leadership in the Middle East—and it is not unique to that region,” Romney said.
Romney called out the Obama administration for it’s botched response to the September 11 attacks on U.S. consulates and embassies in the Middle East and it’s initial claims that the attacks were in response to vile video of the Prophet Muhammad rather than anti-American sentiment.
“Our embassies have been attacked. Our flag has been burned. Many of our citizens have been threatened and driven from their overseas homes by vicious mobs, shouting ‘Death to America,’ ” Romney said. “The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts.
“This latest assault cannot be blamed on a reprehensible video insulting Islam, despite the Administration’s attempts to convince us of that for so long,” he continued.
Romney said that while the blame for the attack in Libya lay with the terrorists who committed the attack, it is the President’s responsibility to act on these assaults on Americans, “not to lead from behind, leaving our destiny at the mercy of events.”
The GOP presidential candidate also criticized Obama for undermining the U.S. relationship with U.S. friend and ally Israel and remarked that the President Obama “has succeeded” at putting “daylight” between the United States and Israel as he promised he would in his 2009 speech in Cairo, Egypt.
After the Libyan attack, U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice said told Americans that there was “absolutely no daylight between the United States and Israel that we will do what it takes to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.”
However, Obama’s refusal to meet with Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu during his trip to New York for the U.N. General Assembly meeting the following week has many Americans worried that the President is not taking Netanyahu’s alerts about Iran’s growing nuclear capabilities seriously enough.
Romney said that in his administration, Americans would never have to worry about that again.
“I will reaffirm our historic ties to Israel and our abiding commitment to its security,” Romney promised. “The world must never see any daylight between our two nations.”
He warned Americans that if our country doesn’t lead “others who do not share our interests and our values” will lead instead “and the world will grow darker, for our friends and for us.”
In response to Romney’s speech Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki told reporters aboard Air Force One this afternoon that,”[Romney] is somebody who leads with chest-pounding rhetoric. He’s inexperienced. He’s been clumsy of his handling of foreign policy.”
The Obama campaign also sent out a new television ad Monday morning that revisited Romney’s unsuccessful trip overseas this summer to meet with foreign leaders.
“If this is how he handles the world now, just think what Mitt Romney might do as President,” says the ads narrator.
Romney may have previously failed at effectively reproaching Obama on foreign policy, but that certainly wasn’t the case on Monday.
“I know the President hopes for a safer, freer, and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy,” Romney said, in what could become one of the most memorable Romney quotes.
If the President expects to beat Romney in the upcoming foreign policy debate, he’ll have to bring a lot more to the table than today’s “policy” video. Videos attacking your opponent aren’t a strategy either.
Obama video below.