The President had hit Romney for saying that Russia was the nation’s number one “geopolitical foe” as hearkening back to the policies of the 1980s.
“Gov. Romney, I’m glad you now recognize al Qaeda is a threat, because a few months ago, when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America, you said Russia,” Obama said, telling Romney the Cold War has been over for 20 years.
Obama was referencing an interview from March in which Romney told CNN’s Wolf Blitzer that Vladimir Putin’s Russia is the nation’s top foe because it has veto power on the U.N. Security Council and a large nuclear arsenal.
The GOP nominee nailed Obama in the interview Obama referenced for pairing back missile defenses in an effort to “reset” relations with Russia.
Romney was right, noting that Putin has opposed the United States at every turn, backing Bashar Assad’s regime in Syria and opposing action against Iran’s nuclear weapons program, calling sanction’s “counterproductive.”
Although Russia might be a pale reflection of the old Soviet Union, it has stood in the way of the United States at every turn.
According to the Heritage Foundation, the nuclear weapons treaty Obama agreed to undermined national security and missile defense options that would protect us from Iranian nuclear weapons.
In the debate Romney corrected Obama, chiding him for purposefully taking his words out of context, and then reminded Americans that the reason he made the geopolitical foe comment in the first place is because Obama wasn’t being tough enough on Russia.
“I have clear eyes on this. I’m not going to wear rose-colored glasses when it comes to Russia or Mr. Putin,” Romney said. “And I’m certainly not going to say to him, I’ll give you more flexibility after the election. After the election, he’ll get more backbone.”
Romney was referring to Obama’s infamous hot mic incident in which he told outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev to tell Putin, “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
It was in response to and in the context of that alarming statement that Romney spoke about Russia in March.
Unable to refute Romney’s attack, Obama allowed Romney to change the subject to the war in Iraq and the U.S.’ status there.
This post has been updated to include additional information.
Francesca Chambers contributed to this report.