Belfast Telegraph

Saturday 20 December 2014

Romney slams Obama foreign policy

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters in Reno, Nevada (AP/Sacramento Bee)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks to supporters in Reno, Nevada (AP/Sacramento Bee)
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney criticised Barack Obama's foreign policy (AP/Sacramento Bee)

US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney has issued a sweeping indictment of President Barack Obama's conduct of foreign policy, including a charge that the White House sought political gain by leaking classified details of the military raid that killed Osama bin Laden.

The sharp attack on Mr Obama, issued in a Reno, Nevada, speech to the national convention of the Veterans of Foreign Wars (VFW), sets up Mr Romney's journey this week to Britain, Israel and Poland, key American allies.

Mr Romney did not detail how, specifically, he would alter US policy even as he implied that Mr Obama had stood by as Washington lost global supremacy and leadership of the free world.

"If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on earth, I am not your president. You have that president today," the former Massachusetts governor told the appreciative audience of veterans.

Both candidates have been trading charges over who was best able to reinvigorate the struggling US economy, but have turned to foreign affairs in recent days in advance of their speeches to the VFW and Mr Romney's travels abroad.

Polls show the economy remains uppermost in the minds of voters in what is expected to be one of the closest presidential elections in recent history.

The most serious charge among Mr Romney's many allegations against Mr Obama was the accusation of leaking secrets. Mr Romney demanded that a special independent counsel be assigned to investigate to ensure that those involved are "exposed, dismissed and punished", adding: "The time for stonewalling is over."

Attorney General Eric Holder has appointed two federal prosecutors to get to the bottom of the leaks, but Mr Romney suggested that was not good enough. The White House has rejected calls for a special prosecutor, saying there is no need for one.

Mr Romney stopped short of accusing Mr Obama specifically of leaking information that includes details of the mission that killed Osama bin Laden last year. Mr Obama has strongly rejected the leak accusations that, until Tuesday, had been contained to Republicans in Congress.

White House spokesman Jay Carney responded by saying Mr Obama "feels extremely strongly about this" and noting Mr Holder's appointment of the two federal prosecutors to investigate. "The president has made abundantly clear that he has no tolerance for leaks and he thinks leaks are damaging to our national security interests," Mr Carney said.

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