Romney Foreign-Policy Team Loaded with Bush Veterans; List Topped by Hayden, Chertoff
Byline: Ben Birnbaum, THE WASHINGTON TIMES
GOP presidential front-runner Mitt Romney Thursday introduced a foreign-policy brain trust that is heavy on veterans of the George W. Bush administration.
Former CIA Director Michael Hayden and former Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff top the list, which also includes author Robert Kagan and former Republican Sens. Jim Talent of Missouri and Norm Coleman of Minnesota. In all, 15 of the 22 members of the group named by the former Massachusetts governor have ties to the Bush administration.
Mr. Romney also announced 13 working groups on key issues and regions that include another 19 names, many of them professors and prominent think-tank researchers.
The announcement comes in advance of a major foreign-policy address Mr. Romney is scheduled to deliver Friday in Charleston, S.C. - a speech that could offer further clues as to how a Romney administration foreign policy might look.
On the campaign trail, Mr. Romney has adopted a fairly conventional Republican perspective, criticizing President Obama for acting too slowly to thwart Iran's nuclear ambitions and for throwing Israel under the bus in its dealings with the Palestinians.
But he also has offered only tepid support for the war in Afghanistan, saying in a June debate that one of the lessons of the conflict was that our troops shouldn't go off and try and fight a war of independence for another nation. That remark sparked criticism from leading congressional foreign-policy hawks such as Sen. Lindsey Graham, South Carolina Republican, who quipped afterward that the biggest disaster would be to let Barack Obama become Ronald Reagan and our people become Jimmy Carter. …