Romney to deliver foreign policy speech amid big questions on Libya, global economy
Published October 07, 2012
FILE: June 21, 2012: Mitt Romney campaigns in Orlando, Fla. (AP)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is set to give a foreign policy speech Monday that will mark one of his final opportunities before Election Day to show his potential as a world leader — amid political turmoil in the Middle East and economic collapse in Europe.
Romney’s success on foreign policy has thus far have evolved towards good reviews. He has drawn widespread praise from conservatives and fellow Republicans for his full support of Israel’s quest to stop Iran from achieving nuclear capability.
However, critics argue Romney made some missteps during his overseas trip this summer. He questioned whether England had enough security in place for the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London. Then in Israel, he declared Jerusalem the capital of the Jewish state, which U.S. administrations have refused to accept for decades given Palestinian claims to the ancient city.
More recently, Romney was highly critical of the Obama administration in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Egypt and the ensuing Sept. 11 terror attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, in which Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans were killed.
Romney has continued his criticism and calls for more information from the administration about the facts surrounding the attacks, saying as recently as Thursday the Libya incident was a “tragic failure.”
“I believe obviously what happened was a tragic failure. There had been warnings of a possible attack. There had been requests on the part of … diplomats there to have additional security forces there,” Romney said on Fox News. “We expected candor and transparency from the administration and we didn’t get it.”
Romney will deliver his speech Monday morning at the Virginia Military Institute, in Lexington, Va.
The Romney campaign suggested last week that Romney will continue to tell Americans that if elected, he would make national defense a top priority and that he opposes the “devastating defense cuts” on which Obama has insisted.
“He will offer a stark contrast between his vision for a strong foreign policy and the failed record of President Obama,” the campaign said. “Where President Obama has shown weakness, a Romney administration will demonstrate strength and resolve. Where President Obama has shown equivocation, a Romney administration will demonstrate clarity and never hesitate to speak out for American values.”
The speech also comes before two remaining presidential debates that will focus in part on foreign policy.
Romney made clear during the first presidential debate Wednesday night his thoughts about Europe’s financial problems, specifically those in Spain.
“I don’t want to go down the path of Spain,” he said.
The country’s economy is in a deep recession, with unemployment hovering around 25 percent.
Obama has consistently outscored Romney in polls asking about national security leadership. But the administration is struggling to deal with the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya.
After originally saying it was a “spontaneous” assault sparked by outrage over an anti-Islamic video trailer, the administration later acknowledged the assault was a pre-planned terror attack.
The FBI is investigating and the State Department is conducting its own internal probe.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has said, “No one wants to determine what happened that night in Benghazi more than the president and I do.”
But the Republican-led House Committee on Oversight and Government Affairs is going ahead with its own investigation.
The committee hearings are scheduled to begin Wednesday. Fox News confirmed Saturday the committee has subpoenaed Utah Army National Guard Green Beret Lt. Col. Andy Wood, who led a 16-member Special Forces site security team responsible for protecting U.S. personnel at the consulate.
Romney has also drawn criticism for calling Russia — not Iran or China for example — America’s primary global adversary.
But Obama has also made his share of mistakes.
He was forced to apologize to Poland’s president in June after using the expression “Polish death camp” in reference to an extermination center operated by Nazi Germany on Polish soil during World War II.
In March, Obama was overheard telling outgoing Russian President Dmitri Medvedev that a compromise over a missile-defense system could be reached after the November election.
“This can be solved, but it’s important for (incoming Russian President Vladimir Putin) to give me space,” Obama said into a live microphone. “This is my last election. After my election, I have more flexibility.”
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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