The Romney campaign is continuing its attacks on President Obama's foreign policy, criticizing the administration's response to the terrorist attack in Libya that left four Americans dead last month.
Mitt Romney has berated the president in recent weeks on issues ranging from Syria to the Iranian nuclear program. On Monday, the Republican nominee wrote an op-ed in The Wall Street Journal, where he criticizes Obama over his “bumps in the road” comments that garnered swift attacks from conservatives.
“These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere ‘bumps in the road.’ They are major issues that put our security at risk,” Romney writes. “Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We’re not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies.”
He continues, “And that's dangerous. 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.”
Romney writes that the U.S. has descended from once being the leader of the free world, to atrophying under Obama leadership. “By failing to maintain the elements of our influence and by stepping away from our allies, President Obama has heightened the prospect of conflict and instability,” Romney wrote. “He does not understand that an American policy that lacks resolve can provoke aggression and encourage disorder.”
The Republican nominee has persistently said the president has “apologized for America,” but foreign policy has been perceived as a strength for Obama. After concluding the war in Iraq, drawing down troops in Afghanistan and killing Osama bin Laden—effectively crippling al-Qaida leadership—the president has been seen as strong on foreign policy in most polls. However, in light of recent events, Team Romney sees a potentially opening.
At some point after the presidential debate on Wednesday, Romney will give a major foreign policy speech, Politico reports. The speech will likely focus on what the Romney campaign has called failures in the foreign policy arena by the Obama administration, including the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program and last month’s attack in Libya.
The Romney campaign and other Republicans have been quick in recent weeks to attack the president over both of those issues, taking to Sunday shows to air their concerns. Vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan said Obama’s record in the Middle East was “unraveling.”
“We’re seeing the ugly fruits of the Obama foreign policy unravel around the world on our TV screens,” Ryan said on Fox News Sunday. “Syria — you've got 20,000 dead people. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon. The Middle East peace process is in shambles, and we have our flags being burned all around the world. Russia is thwarting us at every stage in the process. This is a weak foreign policy with terrible results, which makes us less safe.”
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., also lambasted the administration’s handling of the Libyan attack, saying the response didn't “pass the smell test.”
“It was either willful ignorance or dismal intelligence to think that people come to spontaneous demonstrations with heavy weapons, mortars, and the attack goes on for hours,” McCain said on CNN's State of the Union.
The Obama campaign defended the president’s foreign policy on Sunday, as senior advisor David Plouffe said the administration did everything in its power in the aftermath of the Libyan attack.