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Politics / N2K Presidential Race Analysis

Romney's Foreign Policy Markers Aimed at Debate

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney delivers a foreign policy speech at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va.((AP Photo/Charles Dharapak))

October 8, 2012

Mitt Romney on Monday laid down foreign policy markers. They’re likely to matter less if he takes office than they will in his foreign policy debates with President Obama in coming weeks.

“This president’s policies have not been equal to our best examples of world leadership,” Romney said at the Virginia Military Institute, calling for “a national security strategy for the Middle East.”

Romney’s address, near the end of a campaign that has never dwelt for too long on global affairs, partially inoculates him from Obama charging during a debate that Romney’s foreign policy is half-formed, or less.


“It’s clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office,” Romney added, and while that may be true in the broader sense, it’s unclear whether it’s a vote-getter. Americans are impressed that fewer American lives are being lost in the region than when the president took office.

Romney starts this week in the best position he’s enjoyed since winning the nomination, having gained ground in post-debate tracking polls. He’s gotten there with a long drumbeat on the economy, and a stunningly effective debate. He has two more match-ups with Obama, both of which focus on foreign policy, in whole or in part. Monday’s speech appeared designed to set up more victories.

—Jim O’Sullivan


Romney’s Foreign Policies Sound a Lot Like Obama’s

[National Journal, 10/8/12] Romney's speech continued a broad move to the rhetorical middle that he signaled during his first debate last week. Yet in toning down his language, Romney revealed that his actual policy differences with Obama are almost undetectable in many areas.

Romney Proposes New Iran Sanctions, Help for Syria

[National Journal, 10/8/12] Mitt Romney accused President Obama of “passive” leadership in the Middle East in a foreign-policy speech Monday at Virginia Military Institute. Romney called for more direct intervention in Syria and new sanctions on Iran. “Hope is not a strategy,” he said.

Albright: Romney Speech ‘Full of Platitudes’

[The Wall Street Journal, 10/8/12] In a conference call with reporters organized by the Obama campaign, former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright said Romney’s speech “sounds pretty good but I think it is really full of platitudes and free of substance.”

Romney on Foreign Policy: Setting Himself Apart

[The New York Times, 10/8/12] As Romney sought to differentiate himself from Obama on foreign policy, he has yet to address some of the “deep ideological rifts” on the subject within his own party—and even on his team of advisers.

New Obama Ad Attacks Romney on Foreign Policy

[Politico, 10/8/12] A new Obama campaign ad seeks to undermine Romney on foreign policy as he makes his speech in Virginia on Monday, playing a series of clips criticizing Romney’s trip abroad.

Ryan Talks Foreign Policy, Too

[NBC, 10/8/12] Rep. Paul Ryan, campaigning in Ohio, praised Romney’s speech and offered a few words of his own.

A VP Debate That Could Really Matter

[Politico, 10/8/12] While vice presidential debates do not often have a big impact on the larger presidential race, several factors have combined to elevate this week’s showdown between Rep. Paul Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden.

Poll: Romney Takes Narrow Lead After Dominating Debate

[National Journal, 10/8/12] Romney has surged following his strong debate performance last week, and now holds a slight lead over Obama among likely voters, according to a new poll released Monday by the Pew Research Center.

Obama Team Looks for Comeback

[The New York Times, 10/8/12] Following his flat debate performance last week, Obama’s campaign has run new ads, recast his stump speech and made other moves in an effort to regain momentum.

New Priorities Ad Attacks Romney on Education

[National Journal, 10/8/12] Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC supporting Obama, is released an ad on Monday that accuses Romney of planning to slash education spending.

Obama Jokes About His Debate Performance

[Politico, 10/8/12] At a California fundraiser with Katy Perry, Stevie Wonder and earth, Wind & Fire, Obama opined about how the artists can perform well night after night. “I can’t always say the same,” he said.

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