The setting may have been a pancake breakfast in Georgia, but Mitt Romney's message was all red meat.
Taking questions before a crowd of nearly 2,000 at a high school in Snellville after serving flapjacks, Romney took hard aim at President Obama's foreign policy tactics, calling his dealings with Iran and Syria dangerous failures.
"The president has failed the Arab Spring, it’s become the Arab Winter in too many respects," Romney said. "It's pretty straight forward in my view. If Barack Obama gets re-elected, Iran will have a nuclear weapon and the world will change if that’s the case."
President Obama addressed the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee at a conference in Washington today, where he told the pro-Israel coalition that "Now is not the time for bluster; now is the time to let our increased pressure sink in, and to sustain the broad international coalition that we have built."
Romney, who will be addressing the group by satellite from Ohio on Tuesday morning, saw fit to call tear into this message. "This president has failed. I understand he just gave an address today talking about all the great things he's done to provide greater peace and reduce the threat from Iran, that hasn’t happened."
He also used particularly strong language when referring to Syria, elaborating more than usual on his positions with regard to the Assad dictatorship and linking the country’s violent regime to Iran. "Syria is Iran’s only Arab ally. It’s also their route to the sea. It is also their route to arming Hezbollah in Lebanon, which is just going to attack Israel from Lebanon."
Romney said he was not in favor of direct military intervention in Syria, "but we’ll keep our options open." He said he would be in favor of working with leaders in the dissident community in the hopes it would get Syria into a more representative government.
This marks Romney's only trip to Georgia in the run-up to Super Tuesday, though one of his Republican rivals, Newt Gingrich, has dedicated the majority of his campaigning this week to the state. While Romney did not mention any of the other candidates by name, he took one sideswipe at Gingrich, when Romney said that he would not "pander" by over-promising low gas prices.
A major theme of Gingrich's campaign has been his intention to bring gas prices down to $2.50 a gallon by encouraging more offshore drilling and tapping into resources in Alaska.
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