GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: Let's talk about Iran. You've been quite critical of the president's policy. Also Prime Minister Netanyahu of Israel has suggested he wants more clear red lines from the United States. What is your red line with Iran?As it turns out, that's the same red line as articulated by President Obama, a fact which Stephanopoulos pointed out:
MITT ROMNEY: Well, my red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama said exactly the same thing. He said it's unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. So your red line is the same as his.And just in case there was any lack of clarity, Romney got one more chance to say he supports a different policy than Obama:
MITT ROMNEY: Yeah, and I laid out what I would do to keep Iran from reaching that red line.
GEORGE STEPHANOPOULOS: But your red line going forward is the same?So according to Mitt Romney, his policy towards Iran is exactly the same as President Obama's. The only difference is that Romney says Obama hasn't done enough to follow through on the policy. But the policy is the same.
MITT ROMNEY: Yes. And recognize that when one says that it's unacceptable to the United States of America that that means what it says. You'll take any action necessary to prevent that development, which is Iran becoming nuclear.
But wait ... Romney's foreign policy advisers say that he doesn't share the same policy.
Meanwhile, however, two of Mr. Romney’s most senior foreign policy advisers, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, were offering a far more muscular stance on Iran. Asked specifically how Mr. Romney’s foreign policy differs from that of the Obama administration, Mr. Romney’s advisers said that he would have already told Iran that he would not allow it to come close to building a bomb.Confused? Well, this doesn't clear it up:
Mr. Romney, said Mr. Cohen, “would not be content with an Iran one screwdriver’s turn away from a nuclear weapon.” Though he did not say exactly where, in the development of nuclear capacity, Mr. Romney would draw his own red line, Mr. Cohen said that it would be far before Mr. Obama’s own line — at the point of actual weaponization — and that it could be in a different place that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel draws it.
The Romney campaign did not offer an on-the-record response for the apparent discrepancy in message and position between Mr. Romney and his top foreign policy advisers. But they privately maintain there is no change in policy and point to the portion of the ABC News interview where he says that Iran should not have “the capacity to terrorize the world.”They also said Stephanopoulos was wrong to say Obama's policy was the same as Romney's. Of course, Stephanopoulos wasn't the only one to make that "mistake." Mitt Romney did as well. Three different times.