With the one-year anniversary of the raid that killed Osama bin Laden less than one week away, Vice President Joe Biden on Thursday will offer a ringing defense of President Barack Obama's national security record and hammer presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney's approach to foreign policy, the Obama campaign announced Wednesday.
"The Vice President will contrast the Administration's record with the empty rhetoric of Governor Mitt Romney, who continues to distort and mischaracterize the President's accomplishments on foreign policy and national security without offering policy alternatives of his own," the campaign said in an unsigned press release. It did not offer details of the alleged distortions.
Biden, a former Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman, will detail how "we have successfully confronted our enemies and strengthened our alliances to effectively meet the challenges we face overseas" in a speech to be delivered at 10:30 a.m. at New York University. News of the vice president's speech came as Republican Sen. Marco Rubio, a rising star in the party and member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, is set to criticize Obama's foreign policy in a speech at the Brookings Institution in Washington on Wednesday. Rubio, often discussed as a possible running mate for Romney, will also rebuke those in his party who urge a retrenchment from the world.
Recent public opinion polls have found that Americans give Obama generally better grades on foreign policy than on the economy. And the president's political campaign has not been shy about using his decision to order the May 2011 raid in which elite American forces killed bin Laden as shorthand for "strong on national security." Biden, notably, dubbed it with typical audacity the boldest military plan in 500 years. And the vice president has repeatedly spoken what may be the pithiest "bumper sticker" re-election argument for Obama: "Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. Think about it."
Still, Biden's speech comes at a time when Republicans have ramped up criticisms of the president on a range of foreign policy issues as the political campaign heats up. John McCain, the top Republican on the Senate's Armed Services Committee, has repeatedly condemned Obama's decision not to provide Syria's outgunned opposition with weapons to battle the country's government forces. Republicans of all stripes have pounded the president for telling outgoing Russian President Dmitry Medvedev recently that the White House would have more "flexibility" on issues like missile defense after the November election. And conservatives have charged that America has received too little in return for Obama's policy of engaging China and Russia, and that the president is shortchanging Israel's concerns about Iran's nuclear program.