Entries in Mitt Romney (20)


Sen. Rob Portman Defends Romney’s Use of Libya on Campaign Trail

ABC(NEW YORK) -- Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio defended GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney Sunday morning on “This Week” for his use of the deadly incident in Libya to criticize President Obama on the campaign trail.

The father of killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens told Bloomberg it would be “abhorrent” to make his son’s death a campaign issue.

“He didn’t say it was a campaign issue.  He said it was an issue. I mean, it’s something the American people are really concerned about," Portman said. “Folks want to know two things.  Why wasn’t the security there?  And why did the administration try so hard to create, you know, the wrong image as to what happened?”

“They went out of their way to try to leave the impression this was because of some video.  It wasn’t,” he said. “It was a premeditated terrorist attack that terrible night in Benghazi. That tragic occurrence where we lost the ambassador and three other brave Americans needs to be explained to the American people.  And I think folks deserve an explanation.”

Both Romney and Paul Ryan have questioned the administration’s handling of the attack in Libya since it occurred.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says Obama Fails to Grasp Seriousness of Libya Attacks

NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty Images(ASHEVILLE, N.C.) -- Mitt Romney offered his harshest attack to date on the Obama administration’s handling of last month’s terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans, accusing the president of failing to “grasp the seriousness” of the incident.

Romney drew on comments made earlier Thursday by Obama’s deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter on CNN, in which she accused Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan of making the situation in Libya a “political circus” and blaming him and Ryan for it becoming “the political topic it is” to make his point.

“His campaign said this today about the Benghazi terrorist attack,” Romney began at a rally in Asheville, N.C., Thursday evening.  “They said, and I quote, ‘The entire reason this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.’”

“No, President Obama, it’s an issue because this is the first time in 33 years that a United States ambassador has been assassinated,” said Romney.

“Mr. President, this is an issue because we were attacked successfully by terrorists on the anniversary of 9/11,” he said.  “President Obama, this is an issue because Americans wonder why it was it took so long for you to admit that this was a terrorist attack.”

The White House determined the attacks on the U.S. Consulate were a terrorist attack nine days after the incident.

“This is very -- this is a very serious issue,” Romney continued.  “These are very serious questions, and the American people deserve serious answers and I hope they come soon.”

During the CNN appearance, Cutter went on to talk about the incident as a whole, as well as the administration’s response to what they knew at the time.

“You know, the administration has been open and honest from day one about the Benghazi attack, and as more information has become available, they’ve made that information available to the American people and to members of Congress,” Cutter said.  “But, you know, when a crisis occurs, when an attack occurs, that information is gathered and, you know, over time it becomes more clear what happened, and I think that’s the case here.”

In a written statement following Romney’s remarks in North Carolina Thursday evening, Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith accused Romney of trying to score “cheap political points.”

“From the time of the attack in Libya, Mitt Romney has stopped at nothing to politicize these events -- and he wasted no time in proving that point in North Carolina today,” wrote Smith, referring to the criticism that fell upon Romney when he accused the Obama administration of “sympathizing” with the attackers before all the details of the incident were known.

“President Obama has been focused on getting the facts, finding the terrorists responsible, and bringing them to justice, Mitt Romney has attempted to use the tragedy to his political advantage,” Smith wrote.  “Every time Mitt Romney has tried to prove he’s ready to be commander-in-chief, he has failed miserably -- embarrassing himself and alienating our closest ally during his foreign trip, calling Russia our top foe without presenting any plan to deal with al-Qaeda, and rushing to launch a political attack against the president on the Libya tragedy before he knew all the facts.  The American people deserve better from someone auditioning to be commander-in-chief.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Puckish Russian Offers Romney a Plane Whose Windows Open

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(MOSCOW) -- After Mitt Romney joked that “the windows don’t open” on Ann Romney’s plane, which filled with smoke last Friday, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitri Rogozin offered to send her a replacement: the AN-2, an old Soviet biplane which had a notoriously dubious safety record.

“No problem! We’ll send our AN-2 to Romney’s campaign headquarters,” Rogozin wrote on Facebook last night.

“Not only do the windows not close, but the doors sometimes swing open mid-flight. On the plus side, there’s fresh air to breathe, and you can take in the nature,” he added.

On The Tonight Show with Jay Leno Tuesday night, Ann Romney said the "window" comment was a joke meant to make light of how worried Gov. Romney was about his wife.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Shares Same ‘Red Line’ as Obama on Iran

Martin H. Simon/ABC(NEW YORK) -- Mitt Romney has skewered President Obama’s Iran policy.  But in an exclusive interview, days after the Israeli Prime Minister criticized the U.S. for not putting “red lines before Iran,” Romney told ABC's George Stephanopoulos he would draw the same line in the sand as Obama.

“My red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world.  Iran with a nuclear weapon or with fissile material that can be given to Hezbollah or Hamas or others has the potential of not just destabilizing the Middle East. But it could be brought here,” Romney said.

“Look, Iran as a nuclear nation is unacceptable to the United States of America,” he said.

Stephanopoulos pointed out that Obama also says it is unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon and asked Romney if he therefore has the same “red line” as Obama?

“Yes,” Romney said.

The difference, Romney said, is what he would do to keep Iran from reaching the line.

“I spoke some years ago in Israel at the Herzliya Conference and laid out seven steps to keep Iran from becoming nuclear. They have not been taken, until one, more recently. I said that crippling sanctions needed to be put in place immediately,” he said.

Had those sanctions been implemented Iran’s economy “would be on its knees at this point,” Romney said.

“That combined with standing up with Iranian dissidents, the president was silent, when dissidents took to the streets in Tehran.  I would have spoken out in favor of representative government and against the Ahmadinejad regime. The president was silent. In addition, I think Ahmadinejad should have been indicted under the genocide conviction,” he said.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Says He Can’t Imagine Saying No to Meeting Netanyahu

Jim Davis/The Boston Globe via Getty Images(JACKSONVILLE, Fla.) – Mitt Romney said Wednesday that he couldn’t “imagine saying no” to a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu. His comment came a day after The White House announced that President Obama and the Israeli leader would not meet in person later this month when Netanyahu is in New York for the U.N. General Assembly.

“I stand with our friends in Israel, I stand with our allies,” Romney said while shaking hands with supporters in Florida today. “I can’t ever imagine, if the prime minister of Israel asked to meet with me, I can’t ever imagine saying no.”

“They’re our friends, they’re our closest allies in the Middle East,” said Romney.

The White House said Tuesday that the Netanyahu’s and Obama’s schedules made an in-person meeting impossible, despite the fact that the two leaders will travel to New York for the U.N. General Assembly just days apart from one another. The Obama administration also denied reports that Netanyahu offered to come to Washington to meet with the president.

Obama and Netanyahu spoke by telephone Tuesday evening, and according to the White House “discussed the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program and our close cooperation on Iran and other security issues.”

Earlier this week Netanyahu spoke about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, a topic Romney and Obama disagree on. The Israeli leader criticized the Obama administration, saying that those who refuse to put “red lines” before Iran have no moral right to give Israel a “red light.”

Romney met with Netanyahu during his foreign trip in July and received a warm welcome from the prime minister, who referred to the presidential candidate by his first name, “Mitt.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Putin Thanks Romney for Calling Russia No. 1 Foe

ALEXEY DRUZHININ/AFP/Getty Images(MOSCOW) -- Russian President Vladimir Putin said Tuesday that Mitt Romney’s characterization of Moscow as the United States’ “number one geopolitical foe” has actually helped Russia.

The Russian leader said Romney’s comments strengthened his resolve to oppose NATO’s plan for a missile defense shield in Eastern Europe, a system Russia believes will degrade its nuclear deterrent. The U.S. insists the system is aimed at Iran, not Russia.

“I’m grateful to him (Romney) for formulating his stance so clearly because he has once again proven the correctness of our approach to missile defense problems,” Putin told reporters, according to the Russian news agency RIA Novosti.

“The most important thing for us is that even if he doesn’t win now, he or a person with similar views may come to power in four years. We must take that into consideration while dealing with security issues for a long perspective,” he said, speaking after a meeting with Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic, according to Interfax news agency.

Putin also waded into the U.S. election in an interview last week with state-controlled Russia Today television. Putin called President Obama “a very honest man” and said after their meeting at the G20 in Los Cabos, Mexico, he believed he could strike a missile defense deal with him, saying Obama’s willingness to deal appeared “quite sincere.”

Obama caused some controversy when he was caught on an open microphone at a summit in South Korea in March telling then-Russian President Dmitri Medvedev he would have more room to negotiate missile defense after the November presidential election.

During the same interview with Russia Today last week, Putin said he could work with Romney, but also expressed concerns about the GOP nominee, or someone with similar views, taking over the reins of the missile defense shield.

“In that case, the system will definitely be directed at Russia,” he said, according to a transcript posted on Putin’s official website.

After Romney’s “geopolitical foe” comment last spring, Medvedev chided him for being stuck in the 1970s.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney's Overseas Comment Riles Palestinians

Oli Scarff/Getty Images(GDANSK, Poland) -- The White House was subtly gleeful Monday as Mitt Romney's campaign dealt with the latest group to be offended during the Republican presidential candidate's overseas tour that was intended to showcase his foreign policy credentials.

Romney reportedly insulted the Palestinians by suggesting that the discrepancy between the wealth of Israel and Palestinians was due in part to their different cultures. A top Palestinian labeled the analysis racist.

In addition, Romney's campaign said Monday that they had hoped to go to Germany to meet with Chancellor Angela Merkel, but a senior Romney adviser said that she is on vacation.

"I will say though that the governor and the chancellor will find a time to speak soon," the Romney adviser said at a briefing on the plane to Gdansk, Poland Monday.

The White House weighed in on Romney's remarks that angered the Palestinians.

"One of the challenges of being an actor on the international stage, particularly when you're traveling to such a sensitive part of the world, is that your comments are very closely scrutinized for meaning, for nuance, for motivation," Obama Deputy Press Secretary Josh Earnest said Monday in the White House briefing.

"And it is clear that there are some people who have taken a look at those comments and are scratching their heads a little bit."

Senior Obama campaign advisor David Axelrod weighed in on Twitter: "Is there anything about Romney's Rolling Ruckus that would inspire confidence in his ability to lead US foreign policy?"

Sniping aside, Romney's comments came down to provable dollars and cents. At a fundraiser in Jerusalem's King David Hotel earlier Monday, the presumptive GOP nominee told his donors, "As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality."

"And that exists also between other countries that are near or next to each other. Chile and Ecuador; Mexico and the United States," Romney added, before noting that culture "makes all the difference." It's a point he consistently stressed on the 2008 campaign trail.

"And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things," Romney said.

Romney's campaign said his comments have been "grossly mischaracterized."

The controversy over his Palestinian comments come on the heels of his comments in London when he said the city's preparations for the Summer Games -- something he knows about after spear heading the 2002 Salt Lake Games -- were "disconcerting." Many news outlets and pundits had reported about lapses from the company charged with providing security for The Olympics in the days before The Games started. Those lapses -- which reportedly took U.K. soldiers to butress -- were what Gov. Romney's comment was addressing.

The comment ruffled feathers throughout this country and England and resulted in a public upbraiding by both the prime minister and London's mayor.

He was also forced to distance himself from comments anonymous advisers made to the Telegraph saying that Romney had a better appreciation of the "Anglo Saxon heritage."

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Does Walesa Embrace of Romney Mean Poland Dislikes Obama?

JANEK SKARZYNSKI/AFP/GettyImages(GDANSK, Poland) -- When President Obama visited Poland last year, Prime Minister Donald Tusk told his American guest, “We feel that you are one of us.”

He didn’t go as far Monday, at least not publicly, following a meeting with Mitt Romney. But former Polish president Lech Walesa, a winner of the Nobel Peace Prize, did give his seal of approval to the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.

“I wish you to be successful because this success is needed to the United States, of course, but to Europe and the rest of the world, too,” Walesa said through a translator. “Gov. Romney, get your success. Be successful!”

The endorsement of a U.S. presidential challenger, unusual in its boldness, was particularly eyebrow-raising in light of Walesa’s refusal to meet with Obama on his visit to Poland one year ago.

Walesa, the former leader of the Solidarity movement that helped bring down communism in Poland, cited scheduling conflicts at the time for why the two could not meet, though Walesa’s absence was widely interpreted in local news reports as a snub.

So what impact will Walesa’s embrace of Romney have on the 2012 presidential race?  Little, experts say, although it does symbolize a real sense of discontentment among many Poles and Polish-Americans over Obama’s handling of the bilateral alliance during his term.

“This is a powerful statement on Polish relations with the U.S. right now,” Alex Storozynski, president of the Kosciuszko Foundation, a nonpartisan Polish educational and cultural group, said of the Walesa endorsement.  “Poles in Poland are frustrated with the Obama administration.”

Top among the frustrations is an unfulfilled Obama promise from 2008 to add Poland to a list of visa waiver countries, a move that would allow freer flow of travel to and from the U.S. for families, business people and tourists.

Some Poles are also miffed by Obama’s “reset” policy with Russia, a longtime Polish nemesis, and his backing away from parts of a George W. Bush-era missile defense plan.

“They had courageously agreed to provide sites for our anti-missile systems, only to be told, at the last hour, that the agreement was off. As part of the so-called reset in policy, missile defenses were sacrificed as a unilateral concession to the Russian government,” Romney said of the Poles at a VFW convention in Reno last week.

President Obama also recently angered some Poles and Polish-Americans when he referred to “a Polish death camp” -- as opposed to a Nazi death camp in German-occupied Poland -- during remarks at the White House in May. The gaffe drew swift and stern public rebukes from Polish leaders that later led to a letter of regret from Obama to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski.

“If he was ‘one of us’ he’d know that Germans did build those camps,” Storozynski said.

Still, there is ample evidence U.S.-Polish ties, particularly military, remain strong and that Walesa’s endorsement carries little sway.

Obama approved steps to assign a U.S. Air Force contingent to Poland beginning in 2013 as part of the NATO alliance. And both countries’ military leaders say they have close working relationships. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta hosted the Polish Defense Minister last week in Washington.

“Walesa is probably Poland’s best international statesman, not because he’s right, not because he knows what he’s talking about, but because of an aura of credibility from his past and the Nobel Prize. In many ways, he has more stature overseas than at home,” said John Micgiel, director of the East Central European Center at Columbia University.

“But what Mr. Walesa says doesn’t carry a lot of weight with Poles or Polish-Americans.  He thinks differently than most people,” he said.

Solidarity, the trade union group Walesa once led, disassociated itself from his comments Monday, saying in a statement that “Mitt Romney supported attacks on trade unions and employees’ rights.”

“Solidarity was not involved in organizing Romney’s meeting with Walesa and did not invite him to visit Poland,” the group said.

What does all of this mean for U.S. voters of Polish descent?

“They don’t see Obama as their candidate, or Mitt Romney as their candidate,” Micgiel said. “They are truly swing votes.”

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Obama Announces $70M In Military Aid for Israel

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(WASHINGTON) -- As Mitt Romney prepares to travel to Israel this weekend, President Obama announced today that he is releasing an additional $70 million in military aid for Israel.

The new funding is intended to help Israel boost production of a short-range rocket defense system, known as Iron Dome. “This is a program that has been critical in terms of providing security and safety for Israeli families. It is a program that has been tested and has prevented missile strikes inside of Israel… We're going to be able to lock in that funding to assure that that program continues and that we are standing by our friends in Israel when it comes to these kinds of attacks,” Obama told reporters in the Oval Office today.

As he reiterated his administration’s commitment to Israel, the president flubbed the amount of new aid, initially giving the correct $70 million figure and later saying it was actually $70 billion.

The president made the announcement as he signed the United States-Israel Enhanced Security Cooperation Act. “What this legislation does is bring together all the outstanding cooperation that we have seen really at an unprecedented level between our two countries to underscore our unshakable commitment to Israel's security,” Obama explained.

The White House maintains the timing of today’s announcement and bill signing was not intended to upstage Romney’s foreign trip.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Romney Advisers Tell Brits Obama's ‘Comfortable with American Decline’

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images(LONDON) -- Mitt Romney would do a better job than President Obama of highlighting the Anglo-Saxon relationship between the U.S. and Britain, according to the London Telegraph’s interview with two Romney advisers who declined to give their name for the story.

“We are part of an Anglo-Saxon heritage, and he [Romney] feels that the special relationship is special,” an adviser told the British paper.  “The White House didn’t fully appreciate the shared history we have.”

One adviser also told the paper, “Obama is a left-winger.  He doesn’t value the NATO alliance as much.  He’s very comfortable with American decline and the traditional alliances don’t mean as much to him.  He wouldn’t like singing ‘Land of Hope and Glory.’”

The Telegraph reports that the advisers would not go on the record because they have been instructed to not insult the president in the foreign press.  The Romney campaign has also made it clear that it will not criticize the president during the six-day trip overseas.

Romney landed Wednesday morning in the U.K. at around 10:30 a.m. local time, arriving at his London hotel with his wife Ann shortly thereafter.  He has no public events scheduled on Wednesday.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

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