In Appeal to Veterans, Mitt Romney Touts 'Unapologetic' Use of US Power

By LaFranchi, Howard | The Christian Science Monitor, July 24, 2012 | Go to article overview

In Appeal to Veterans, Mitt Romney Touts 'Unapologetic' Use of US Power


LaFranchi, Howard, The Christian Science Monitor


On the eve of a weeklong overseas trip, Mitt Romney tells the VFW he is 'not ashamed of American power,' and calls intelligence leaks from the Obama White House a 'national security crisis.'

Mitt Romney has spent recent weeks saying he sees no reason to apologize for his considerable success as a businessman, and on Tuesday he adapted that theme to his foreign-policy vision - telling a Veterans of Foreign Wars audience that as president he would practice a robust, "unapologetic" use of American power.

Proclaiming, "I am not ashamed of American power," Governor Romney told the VFW convention in Reno, Nev., that he is "guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion" - that the 21st must be "an American century" if peace, justice, and hope are to advance in the world. He then pledged that "if I become commander-in-chief, the United States of America will fulfill its duty, and its destiny."

Romney followed President Obama by a day in addressing the veterans. But unlike Mr. Obama, who in his remarks Monday made no mention of his presumptive Republican rival, the former Massachusetts governor focused on the incumbent he hopes to prevent from winning a second term.

Under Obama, America has lost its leadership position in the world, Romney said, warning that a second Obama term would lead to devastating cuts in the defense budget.

Perhaps recognizing that Obama receives some of his highest marks from voters on national security issues, Romney tried to sow doubts about Obama's stewardship of the nation's security - in particular by charging that the White House, for political gain, has leaked sensitive intelligence information concerning the Osama bin Laden raid and other classified operations.

Calling the leaks "a national security crisis," Romney said such activity "betrays our national interest" and "compromises our men and women in the field." He demanded that the leaks be investigated and that whoever provided information to the media "seeking political advantage for the administration, must be exposed, dismissed, and punished."

Reports surfaced in the media last month of a White House "kill list" of international terrorists. Other reports provided detailed information about a US role in cyberattacks on Iran.

To bolster his case for the seriousness of the leaks, Romney cited Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) of California, chairwoman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, who on Monday said she has no doubt the leaks came from within the White House. "I think the White House has to understand that some of this is coming from their ranks," she said.

Following Romney's speech, however, Feinstein issued a statement saying she was "disappointed" in Romney for using what she said was her answer to a question, and said she knows "for a fact that the president is extremely troubled by these leaks."

Both Romney and Obama are keen on winning the military vote, which traditionally has tended to favor Republicans. Four years ago Obama lost the vote to Republican candidate and military hero John McCain by about a 10-point spread, according to exit polling. …

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