Romney: Obama is a failed leader

2012-10-08 22:26

Lexington - US President Barack Obama has "failed to lead in Syria" and the broader Middle East, and strains between his administration and ally Israel are emboldening Iran, White House hopeful Mitt Romney warned on Monday.

Making the case in a major foreign policy speech that the United States and the Middle East are less safe now than they were at the start of Obama's term, Romney said the president's dithering had increased the threat of instability in a region clamouring for US leadership.

With the slowly improving economy providing less ammunition barely four weeks from the 6 November election, Romney's address at the Virginia Military Institute marked a bid to muscle in on turf largely seen as Obama's dominant preserve.

"The president has failed to lead in Syria, where more than 30 000 men, women and children have been massacred by the Assad regime over the past 20 months," and rebels do not have the necessary weapons to battle President Bashar Assad's troops, Romney said.

He warned that Obama's poor handling of the crisis is emblematic of a president that opts to "lead from behind" instead of asserting US influence.

Romney attacked Obama for "sitting on the sidelines" on the prickly issue of the Syrian rebels.

"In Syria, I will work with our partners to identify and organize those members of the opposition who share our values and ensure they obtain the arms they need to defeat Assad's tanks, helicopters, and fighter jets," Romney said.

"It is essential that we develop influence with those forces in Syria that will one day lead a country that sits at the heart of the Middle East."

But Romney stepped carefully, avoiding the call for the United States to directly provide weapons to rebels.

Foreign policy vision

The Obama administration, worried that shoulder-fired missiles and other heavy weapons could end up in the hands of terrorists, has not provided direct arms support for the rebel groups, although it has arranged for delivery of communications equipment.

Romney acknowledged that Obama had taken some key steps, notably the elimination of chief terror suspect Osama bin Laden.

"But when we look at the Middle East today - with Iran closer than ever to nuclear weapons capability... with violent extremists on the march, and with an American ambassador and three others dead [in Benghazi, Libya] probably at the hands of al-Qaeda affiliates - it is clear that the risk of conflict in the region is higher now than when the president took office," he said.

The Republican nominee, offering a foreign policy vision that he and his campaign believe differs sharply from Obama's, said he would keep Iran in check, chase terrorists in Libya and put conditions on US aid to Egypt.

Senator John McCain, the 2008 Republican nominee and a staunch supporter of greater US involvement in Syria, called Romney's speech "a blueprint for restoring America's strength in the world".

The speech comes the week after the first presidential debate, in which Romney was widely seen as trouncing an ineffective Obama.

The president lost a five-point lead in the polls in the days after the debate and the two men were even at 47%, polling Gallup found on Monday, an early measure of the damage done by Obama's lacklustre performance against a more aggressive and energetic Romney.

Obama still had a three-point edge, 49 to 46%, in Gallup's seven-day rolling average ending on Saturday, which included polls before and after the debate.


At VMI, Romney aimed to put adversaries on notice that as president he would not tolerate the anti-American unrest that has been allowed to fester under Obama.

"I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy," Romney said.

"It is time to change course in the Middle East," he added.

"We cannot support our friends and defeat our enemies in the Middle East when our words are not backed up by deeds... and the perception of our strategy is not one of partnership, but of passivity."

Romney used the 11 September attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya as an example of how extremists are exploiting perceived US weakness.

"The attacks on America last month should not be seen as random acts. They are expressions of a larger struggle that is playing out across the broader Middle East," Romney said adding that the Benghazi attack "was likely the work of the same forces that attacked our homeland on 11 September, 2001."

  • Adeeb Saban - 2012-10-08 22:52

    Romney: bloodthirsty warmonger

      press.enter.12 - 2012-10-08 23:50

      At least Romney and Zuma should get along very well b'cause they have such a lot in common - both believe in many wives and both are idiots . . .

      DSBennie - 2012-10-09 08:10

      @press.enter.12: Only a small Mormon sect believes in polygamy and he is not a member of it, he only has one wife

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-10-18 12:55

      now i see why Chevas says he would rather vote Obama becos think white pig skin idiot romney want to disturb the world peace

  • lala.kunene - 2012-10-09 00:31


      Juan - 2012-10-09 05:06

      Romney! Romney! Romney!

  • douglas.reid.921 - 2012-10-09 04:11

    Obama is trying to get out of the middle east wars and stop the financial bleeding. Bush spent a fortune in the middle east that he borrowed from the chinese, Romney wants to do it all again. Nato knows that to engage in another middle east debacle is just a nightmare. There will always be problems in the middle east, if they didn't have oil nobody would give a damn. Jews should just leave and go to america. Let the arabs fight it out amongst themselves.

      ianon.ym - 2012-10-09 07:56

      At last someone on this comment thread is talking sense.

      stirrer.stirrer - 2012-10-09 11:41

      Obama is seeing Israel for what they are. They are like a small guy that goes into a bar with a big buddy and then looks for cr@p with everyone. when they get it, they want the big buddy to sort it out.

      venessa.cuthbert - 2012-10-09 12:31

      I agree. If they are so concerned about everybody in the world why haven't they done something about Zimbabwe. Because they have nothing the US wants.

  • Juan - 2012-10-09 05:01

    America needs a leader that can reduce their massive dept. 16 trillion dollar debt and growing. Another financial crises around the corner as America will soon again be unable to meet it's debt obligations

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 08:58

      Its an interesting point of reducing the debt by waging wars all around the world as Romney promises.

  • Asdiedamwalbars - 2012-10-09 05:17

    Obama could fool some of his people some of the time but not all of them all the time. He is for sure a jackass.. Who shows his real colours everyday more and more.

  • fawzia.bayat - 2012-10-09 05:37

    Excuse me, but will the mud-slinging ever stop. How nasty can one get? & How how low does one sink?

  • yolandi.reichert - 2012-10-09 06:03

    If America does not want Obama can we have him? He beats JZ any day!

      ivan.overton.3 - 2012-10-09 06:26


  • derek.bredenkamp.3 - 2012-10-09 06:47

    This guy is a serious threat to world peace.

  • nhlapop - 2012-10-09 08:01

    This bloody agent Mitt Romney must get along with Zuma.

      keith.f.murphy - 2012-10-18 12:53

      He should suck zoomas spera the scumbag

  • Shaun Daly - 2012-10-09 08:22

    Dont let the pre-election mudslinging and posturing fool you, Romney and Obama are two peas in a pod. Theyre both spineless centrists who'll do as the Republicrat party bosses tell them and little would change should either be elected. Federal politics are a joke, especially so without a viable third party to challenge the status quo.

      diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 08:59

      A second comment with a lot of sense in it. Agree.

      phahla.matwa - 2012-10-09 10:07

      @ Shaun. There is no democracy in Russian. Hw many ppl r locked in jail by Putin. America must free Russians under da dictator called Vladimiar Putin. Russia is nt American allay

  • phahla.matwa - 2012-10-09 08:39

    These Americans r really threat 2 world peace\r\n They attack small nations. They r afraid of Russia

      richard.bosmano - 2012-10-09 09:02

      And why would they pick a fight with Russia anyway. Both are majority Caucasian,Christian.Both are now capitalists. Both played cold war together and it was no fun. It's not a case of fearing Russia,more like ,why fight with your kin.

  • diana.gill.18 - 2012-10-09 08:56

    Witty-Mitty, you are a failed leader long before you have stepped into presidency.

  • arthur.salvado - 2012-10-09 10:30

    Don't fool yourselves about American politics. No elected president has ever done what he promised during the electoral campaign. They ARE all governed by the senate and are all the same. Besides, USA makes huge money out of a war, creates huge employment and gets to steal , sorry, benefit from oil and other raw materials. Casualties are NOT a's part and parcel of war. Let's just hope they never knock on our door.

  • venessa.cuthbert - 2012-10-09 12:30

    The Americans to the rescue. Tootootootoo

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