Obama 'bowing to the Kremlin': Romney
Los Angeles - Mitt Romney hit back at Russia's president on Tuesday and said President Barack Obama is trying to "ingratiate himself with the Kremlin" after the foreign leader suggested the Republican presidential front-runner was living in a bygone era and that all the candidates should "use their heads".
"The Russians clearly prefer to do business with the current incumbent of the White House," Romney wrote in an opinion piece on the website of the magazine Foreign Policy.
The article represented an escalation of his attacks on Obama after the president's private remark to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev was caught on tape. Obama told the outgoing Russian president that he needed "space" to deal with missile defence issues because he would have more "flexibility" after the November elections.
Romney drew criticism from Medvedev and House Speaker John Boehner, the country's top-ranking Republican, after he said on Monday in a CNN interview that Russia is America's "No 1 geopolitical enemy".
"While the president is overseas, I think it's appropriate that people not be critical of him or of our country," Boehner told reporters when he was asked if he agreed with Romney. "Clearly what's going on in Russia over the last couple of years raises some concerns."
The president was flying back to the US when Romney's opinion piece appeared on Tuesday.
Obama 'breathtakingly weak'
Medvedev said Romney's comments on CNN "smacked of Hollywood". He advised the White House hopefuls, including Romney, to "rely on reason, use their heads", adding, "That's not harmful for a presidential candidate."
"It's 2012, not the mid-1970s, and whatever party he belongs to, he must take the existing realities into account," Medvedev said.
In the opinion piece, Romney expanded his criticism of Obama, calling his entire foreign policy "a sad replay of Jimmy Carter's bungling" and claiming that Obama has "demonstrated breathtaking weakness".
He also criticised Obama for calling Russian President-elect Vladimir Putin to congratulate him on winning the presidential election earlier this year.
"It is not an accident that Medvedev is now busy attacking me," Romney wrote.
Later on Tuesday, Romney addressed the topic again during an appearance on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno************" and said of Russia: "They basically stand up for the world's worst actors."
Democrats have been aggressively defending the president since his off-mic comment became public, citing foreign policy experts who have called Romney's comments potentially dangerous or reckless.
"The level of naiveté about foreign relations that Governor Romney displays is astounding. Worse, it is potentially dangerous for our country," said Timothy Roemer, a former ambassador to India who served on the 9/11 Commission.