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July 05, 2011 12:35 PM Romney flubs foreign policy again

By Steve Benen

When it comes to policy, I think Mitt Romney’s biggest problem is his atrocious record on jobs. But a close second are his bizarre struggles with foreign policy.

Take this one from earlier today.

Mitt Romney talked this morning at a Town Hall in Wolfesboro, N.H. about the U.S. military action in Libya…. It’s not clear what the questioner asked, but Romney clearly refers to congressional approval of the U.S. action in Libya, which did not happen.

Now, the fact that Romney is confused about congressional approval of the mission in Libya isn’t, by itself, a big deal. The former governor probably just got confused. Maybe he heard something about the recent House votes and flubbed the details.

The larger problem, though, is that these foreign policy errors keep happening.

Romney recently described current conditions as “peacetime,” despite the wars. Last year, Romney tried to trash the New START nuclear treaty in an op-ed, prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”

Indeed, this has long been a key weakness for the Republican presidential hopeful. Remember the time Romney told ABC News he would “set a deadline for bringing the troops home” from Iraq — but only if it’s a secret deadline? How about the time Romney, more than four years into the war in Iraq, said it’s “entirely possible” that Saddam Hussein hid weapons of mass destruction in Syria prior to the 2003 invasion? Or the time Romney pretended “Hezbollah and Hamas and al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood” were all the same thing? How about my personal favorite: the time Romney made the bizarre assertion that IAEA weapons inspectors were not allowed entry into Saddam Hussein’s Iraq?

In all likelihood, the economy will dominate the 2012 election, and Romney can largely get away with foreign policy and national security ignorance, since voters’ attention will be elsewhere. But for those who care about the issue, it’s discouraging that Romney has been running for president pretty much non-stop for more than four years, and he still can’t keep these details straight.

Steve Benen is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly, joining the publication in August, 2008 as chief blogger for the Washington Monthly blog, Political Animal.

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  • c u n d gulag on July 05, 2011 12:46 PM:

    "...prompting Fred Kaplan to respond, “In 35 years of following debates over nuclear arms control, I have never seen anything quite as shabby, misleading and — let’s not mince words — thoroughly ignorant as Mitt Romney’s attack on the New START treaty.”


    Then Fred must not have been paying any attention in the last 35 years to Conservative/Republican ideology.

  • Hank on July 05, 2011 12:48 PM:

    Of course he thinks it's peacetime, his kids aren't at war.

  • Kathryn on July 05, 2011 3:07 PM:

    My contempt for "mittens" knows no bounds, he is devoid of a shred of character, talent, knowledge, decency, an empty vessel. Romney as president will hand over the country to Ryan, DeMint, etc. he is the emptiest of empty suits.

  • G.Kerby on July 06, 2011 11:00 AM:

    Maybe he was "brainwashed".

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