YORK, Pa. – Vice President Joe Biden on Sunday kept up his party’s push to highlight its foreign-policy differences with Mitt Romney, suggesting the Republican nominee is overly eager to engage militarily in the Middle East.
"He implies by the speech that he's ready to go to war in Syria and Iran," Biden said of Romney in a speech to more than 1,000 supporters here. "And these guys say the president is out of touch?"
Though Romney did not focus on foreign policy in his Republican National Convention address -- he has come under criticism for making no reference to the ongoing conflict in Afghanistan -- he said Obama “has thrown allies like Israel under the bus” and that “every American is less secure today because he has failed to slow Iran's nuclear threat."
In addition, the former Massachusetts governor gave a tough critique of the Obama administration’s foreign policy in a speech to the American Legion in Indianapolis last week. In that speech, Romney asserted his view that “a just and peaceful world depends upon our strength and our confidence,” and has said he would send troops to Syria if necessary to prevent weapons of mass destruction from falling into terrorists’ hands.
Biden also drew several boos from the audience when he said, "[Romney] said it was a mistake to end the war in Iraq and bring all of our warriors home. He said it was a mistake to set an end date for our warriors in Afghanistan and bring them home."
Romney has said that announcing timelines for withdrawal in Afghanistan has left allies doubting the U.S. resolve there while encouraging the Taliban to believe it could simply wait out any withdrawal. He earlier criticized the administration along similar lines in Iraq, but told the Des Moines Register’s editorial board last December: “Is the wind-down in Iraq appropriate? Yes.”
Most of Biden’s speech, however, dealt with economic policy. Reviving the subject of the Obama administration’s auto bailout, he praised the “sacrifice” of union members and said that without them, “All those GM plants would have been closed.”
Romney campaign spokeswoman Amanda Henneberg in response pointed to several Democratic acknowledgments on Sunday talk shows that the economic recovery has been slower than they would have liked. “Just today, President Obama’s own surrogates admitted that we are not better off than we were four years ago. It’s clear that we need to move in a different direction, but Vice President Biden only brought the same failed policies and tired attacks to Pennsylvania that have not turned around our economy or helped the middle class,” Henneberg said in a statement.
Biden's next campaign stop during his "Road to Charlotte Tour" -- eventually leading to the Democratic National Convention -- was in Green Bay, Wis., where he spoke at the National Railroad Museum.
He attacked vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan for refusing to support the Simpson-Bowles commission's recommendations for reducing the debt as a member of that panel. Obama, however, also has been criticized for failing to embrace its findings.
"Oh, I love these guys, how they claim to care about the deficit," Biden said sarcastically. Referring to President Bill Clinton's administration, he added: "When we [Democrats] left office, [the budget] was in balance."
Henneberg faulted Biden in that appearance for offering "no solutions to our country’s problems, just false attacks and failed policy proposals that have led the country in the wrong direction."