President Obama fired back at Governor Romney's challenges that he is weak in foreign policy, in his interview on CBS 60 Minutes, broadcast tonight.
In his interview Mitt Romney escalated his attacks to include President Obama not meeting with Benjamin Netanyahu during the annual U.N. meetings, saying it was a mistake, that "sends a message throughout the Middle East that somehow we distance ourselves from our friends."
In an interview airing the night before Obama meets with other world leaders at the United Nations, the president said, "If Gov. Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so."
It was Obama's most direct rebuttal yet to persistent skepticism by his White House rival on his handling of an unraveling situation in the Middle East. Romney has charged the U.S. stance has been marred by miscalculations, mixed messages and appeasement.
As far back as May, Romney was condemning Obama's response to unrest in Syria, dubbing it a "policy of paralysis" and calling for more assertive measures, such as arming the opposition to Syrian President Bashar Assad. As deadly anti-American protests erupted earlier this month in Libya and elsewhere, Romney sought to undercut what polling shows is a significant foreign policy edge for Obama by calling the president's handling of the situation "disgraceful" and decrying a lack of U.S. leadership in the region.
The White House responded saying that scheduling difficulties prevented a meeting between President Obama, and Netanyahu, and that the President did not meet with any of the UN leaders.
President Obama noted his successes including ending the war in Iraq, neutralizing Osama bin Laden, and decimating the top leadership of al-Qaeda.
The link above provides an extensive analysis and the the complete transcript of both CBS interviews is here.
That Mitt Romney, who has zero foreign policy credibility would attack our President on these ways is galling to me. We shall see what the voters think.
Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 9:34 PM PT: Here is confirmation from the LA Times:
By Maeve Reston
September 23, 2012, 4:46 p.m.
President Obama and his Republican rival, Mitt Romney, tangled over their varying approaches to foreign policy in dueling “60 Minutes” interviews that aired Sunday, with the president brushing off Romney’s charge that he has been weak on national defense and charging that if Romney “is suggesting that we should start another war — he should say so.”
The debate on the campaign trail is likely to turn to foreign policy once again this week with Obama slated to address the United Nations on Tuesday in New York at the organization’s annual gathering.
In an interview with the CBS program taped on Sept. 12, he defended his efforts to bring the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan to a conclusion and touted his order to kill Osama bin Laden. And he pushed back against recent pressure from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to pinpoint what conditions he would require before launching a military attack on Iran to prevent that country from obtaining a nuclear weapon.
Sun Sep 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM PT: Timothy R. Homan and Hans Nichols, of Bloomberg writes Obama Suggests Romney Wants to Take U.S. to War Over Iran
President Barack Obama called on Mitt Romney to clarify his position on Iran and Syria, raising the prospect that his Republican presidential challenger might want to start another war in the Middle East.
“If Governor Romney is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so,” Obama said in an interview for CBS’s “60 Minutes” program, being broadcast tonight, as world leaders, including Obama, prepare to attend the United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York tomorrow.
“I’ve executed on my foreign policy,” Obama said, citing accomplishments in Iraq and in the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, according to a transcript released by the network before the program aired.
In a session taped separately for the show, Romney said his threshold for committing combat troops for any conflict was a “high hurdle.” He criticized Obama for not scheduling a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu this week and said he would demand greater accountability from the new leadership in Egypt.