Romney Won’t Back Santorum’s ‘Plan’ To Attack Iran: ‘I Don’t Want To Threaten Specific Action Right Now’

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"Romney Won’t Back Santorum’s ‘Plan’ To Attack Iran: ‘I Don’t Want To Threaten Specific Action Right Now’"

The Republicans running for president this election cycle have tried to distinguish themselves from President Obama on Iran by increasingly taking a more militaristic stance toward the Islamic Republic, particularly over its nuclear program. Much of the divide between the president and the GOP candidates has been rhetorical, as substantively, those like Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney call for (or misrepresent) policies Obama has already enacted. Then on Sunday, Rick Santorum upped the ante, saying that attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities is part of his “plan.”

Last night on Fox News, host Sean Hannity asked Romney if he agreed with Santorum, but the former Massachusetts governor said he wouldn’t go that far. “I don’t want to threaten specific action right now,” Romney said:

HANNITY: Do you agree with what Rick Santorum has been saying the last couple of days and that he would take out their nuclear site if he is president?

ROMNEY: Look, I want to talk about what I would do if I were President today. And if I’m elected what I do immediately which is put in place the crippling sanctions against Iran. Stand with the people in Iran who are dissident voices. And prepare military options. I don’t want to threaten specific action right now. But we, of course, have to have military options. And we have to be prepared to take those options to make sure that Iran does not become nuclear.

Watch the clip:

Romney has ramped up the hawkish rhetoric on Iran throughout the campaign. Indeed, he called Obama “weak and timid” for not ordering a military strike to take out the downed American drone in Iran last month. Many of Romney’s top foreign policy advisers have called for an attack on Iran, with one making the case in Foreign Affairs in November of “striking before it’s too late.” But it doesn’t appear that Romney — like Santorum — wants to make war with Iran an official part of his campaign platform…yet.

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