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U.S. Republican presidential candidate and former Governor of Massachusetts Mitt Romney addresses supporters during his Wisconsin and Maryland primary night rally in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, April 3, 2012. REUTERS/Darren Hauck
Mitt Romney's campaign has made it clear for months now that they knew foreign policy was not their candidate's strong suit. Right up until they decided to use the killing of American embassy personnel in Libya to try to score political points against the president, Romney's campaign advisers were dismissive of the very idea that a presidential candidate should maybe occasionally be able to talk about foreign policy without totally shitting the bed.

In July, Romney senior communications adviser Tara Wall dismissed the notion that Romney should have an Afghanistan policy:

Unfortunately it’s disappointing that the attacks, these recent attacks on all these issues outside of what the issues are relative to Mitt Romney are diverting away from what real Americans want to talk about.
This may have come as news to the more than 80,000 U.S. troops still in Afghanistan and their family members and friends. For that matter it may have come as news to the taxpayers still paying for this 11-year war. But maybe troops and taxpayers don't count as real Americans to the Romney campaign.

Last week, explaining his omission of troops serving in Afghanistan from his Republican National Convention speech, Romney himself said that including them would have just been a "laundry list." Because the people whose lives are at stake in the decisions he would make as president were apparently no more important than undershirts or socks.

On Tuesday, Buzzfeed quoted Romney foreign policy adviser Robert O'Brien saying that the Obama campaign was using foreign policy as "a distraction" and a "shiny object."

Then, just hours after that reiteration of the idea that Barack Obama's foreign policy strengths and Mitt Romney's manifest foreign policy weaknesses were off limits for serious discussion because, hello, irrelevant distraction, the Romney campaign decided to dive into foreign policy—head first into an empty pool, as it turned out. In retrospect, it looks like those descriptions of foreign policy as a distraction were just telegraphing how the Romney campaign itself intended to use the subject of all of America's relationships with the entire rest of the world.

Originally posted to Laura Clawson on Wed Sep 12, 2012 at 09:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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