Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O’Brien called the Obama campaign's tactic a transparent ploy to distract from the sagging economy, including a recent jobs report that was "a disaster for them."So I guess that explains why Mitt Romney didn't mention the Afghanistan war nor thank our troops during his acceptance speech. Why waste time on shiny objects and distractions, right? Except issues of war and peace are not shiny objects nor are they distractions. One of the most important responsibilities of the presidency is being commander in chief, a fact with which Romney is apparently finally coming to grips:
"It doesn't surprise me that they're raising foreign policy because it's another distraction from the Administration’s terrible economic record,” O’Brien told BuzzFeed. “They're going from one shiny object to the next."
Romney, who aides say has downplayed national security in speeches and in the campaign to focus on the economy, will seek to repair any damage on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, when he speaks to a crowd of 4,000 at the annual conference of the National Guard Association in Reno, Nev. What might have been a standard patriotic speech has become a more urgent mission to reset the national security debate for the last nine weeks of the campaign, aides said.It's really extraordinary that with less than two months to go before the election, Romney is just figuring out that national security is an important issue, especially for a country still fighting a war in Afghanistan. But even as he belatedly seeks to plug this enormous campaign leak, his advisors are still calling foreign policy a distraction.
The situation is so bad for Romney that he's facing criticism from his own political allies:
Romney’s oversight might seem minor, a sin of omission for failing to the mention the troops in a speech that’s meant to be sweeping by design. But several GOP strategists told POLITICO they considered it, in the words of one, “felony stupid,” raising “a leadership issue, a spine issue” for Romney.So not only are Mitt Romney's foreign policy advisors making arguments (that foreign policy is a distraction) that are directly contradicted by the campaign's behavior (giving speeches on foreign policy), but his fellow Republicans are starting to throw him under the bus. In other words, complete disarray is descending on Mitt Romney. It's the portrait of a losing campaign.
Some officials close to the Romney campaign said it’s especially exasperating because of advice Romney received from some advisers, both internally and externally, to visit Afghanistan and talk to commanders during his foreign swing that began at the Olympics. “Obama is the master of details, and he will try to destroy Mitt on this in debates,” one hawkish Republican said.
Chris LaCivita, a Republican consultant who was an adviser to the Swift Boat campaign against Kerry, said: “You’re not just running for president — you’re running for commander in chief. What he needs to do now is show members of the military, their families and voters in general that he is capable of leading the country on issues other than the ones he is most comfortable talking about.”