If you didn’t know better, you would think at times in the third and final debate that Governor Mitt Romney was actually an Obama campaign surrogate. For someone who once said, “This is the first time we’ve had a president that doesn’t have a foreign policy,” Romney agreed in part or in totality with an astonishing number of the President’s policies.
“I don’t blame the administration for the fact that the relationship with Pakistan is strained,” Romney said, later adding that “the president was right to up the usage” of drones.
From Iran to Afghanistan to China, Romney attempted to swing to a much more moderate position on many of the foreign policies under debate and in doing so, put himself in conflict with his previous statements:
ROMNEY NOW: We’re going to have to recognize that we have to do as the president has done. I congratulate him on taking out Osama bin Laden and going after the leadership in al-Qaeda.
ROMNEY THEN: “I do not concur in the words of Barack Obama in a plan to enter an ally of ours [Pakistan]” to get bin Laden. [8/06/2007]
ROMNEY NOW: I laid out seven steps, crippling sanctions were number one. And they do work. You’re seeing it right now in the economy. It’s absolutely the right thing to do, to have crippling sanctions. I would have put them in place earlier. But it’s good that we have them.
ROMNEY THEN: But nothing in my view is as serious a failure as [President Obama’s] failure to deal with Iran appropriately. This president — this president should have put in place crippling sanctions against Iran, he did not. [02/22/2012]
ROMNEY NOW: We’ve seen progress over the past several years. The surge has been successful and the training program is proceeding apace. There are now a large number of Afghan Security Forces, 350,000 that are ready to step in to provide security and we’re going to be able to make that transition by the end of 2014.
ROMNEY THEN: I stand with the commanders in this regard and have no information that suggests that pulling our troops out faster than that would do anything but put at — at great peril the extraordinary sacrifice that’s been made. This is not time for America to cut and run. [11/22/2011]
ROMNEY NOW: We can be a partner with China. We don’t have to be an adversary in any way, shape or form. We can work with them, we can collaborate with them, if they’re willing to be responsible.
ROMNEY THEN: [W]e should not fail to recognize that a China that is a prosperous tyranny will increasingly pose problems for us, for its neighbors, and for the entire world. [2/16/12]
During last night’s debate, Romney “had little coherent to say and often sounded completely lost,” a New York Times editorial noted this morning. “That’s because he has no original ideas of substance on most world issues. … Mr. Romney’s problem is that he does not actually have any real ideas on foreign policy beyond what President Obama has already done, or plans to do.”
CAP’s Matt Duss writes: “Despite Romney’s momentary embrace of President Obama’s policies, we should still be concerned with the role that neoconservatives would play in a Romney administration.”