Foreign Affairs

Obama campaign plans broadside against Romney’s foreign policy

Obama campaign plans broadside against Romney's foreign policy

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — The Obama campaign is very likely to launch a full-scale broadside against Mitt Romney on the issues of national security and foreign policy, insisting that the Republican nominee is vague on specifics and “stuck in the Cold War.”

Along with convincing U.S. voters to stick with their man as commander-in-chief, “Team Obama” also made it clear at the Democratic National Convention that they want to cultivate foreign audiences with this “stick with what you have” tactic. A special briefing by the Obama camp was held on Tuesday at the Foreign Press Center, including Michele Flournoy, former Undersecretary of Defense for Policy and now an adviser to Obama for America; Colin Kahl, former senior Pentagon official and Obama for America adviser; and Marie Harf, Associate Policy Director for National Security at Obama for America.

“Mitt Romney has failed to lay out what he would do as commander-in-chief,” Flournoy told reporters, adding that some of the Republican nominee’s foreign policy stances are “extreme.”

She noted that, in his two major foreign policy addresses so far, Romney “failed to mention al-Qaeda” and, she said, he is the first major party nominee for president “in 60 years not to mention an ongoing war in his acceptance speech.” Flournoy was referring to Afghanistan and said it was “tragic” Romney has failed to tell so far how he would end the war there.

In what is sure to be a line repeated on the campaign trail often in the weeks ahead, Flournoy told the correspondents she was sure they remembered Romney’s trip to Europe earlier this year and how “it didn’t go so well.”

Decrying what she dubbed as Romney being “stuck in the Cold War,” Flournoy charged that he has addressed China and Russia “in Cold War terms, failing to recognize how we must work with these countries on issues such as Iran.”

The cultivation of foreign press by U.S. presidential campaigns and the desired goal of convincing world leaders to say they are satisfied with the president they know is nothing new. In 1992, then-British Prime Minister John Major publicly said he wanted President George H.W. Bush re-elected over Bill Clinton. Major’s successor, Tony Blair of the Labour Party, made little secret of his preference for Clinton’s re-election in ’96 and that of Republican George H.W. Bush in 2004. That same year, however, French President Jacques Chirac sent out strong signals he wanted Democrat John Kerry instead of Bush in the White House.

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