NASHUA, N.H. – In his harshest critique to date, Mitt Romney today likened the congressional “supercommittee” to a “trap” set up to “put the military on the chopping block,” a move he said was akin to ”putting a gun to your head.”
Speaking at BAE Systems, a global defense and security company and one of New Hampshire’s largest employers, Romney continued assailing President Obama for having “no involvement” in the supercommittee negotiations and suggested that the president’s foreign policy strategies has “weakened America.”
“I would have anticipated the president of the United States would have spent every day and many nights working with the members of the supercommittee to find a way to bridge the gap,” Romney said. “Instead, he’s been out doing other things, campaigning, blaming and traveling. This in my view is inexcusable.
“It’s almost like a trap has been set to say look, ‘We can cut the military even more by putting in place a requirement for a committee to find common ground where it hasn’t been able to,’” Romney said.
“I can’t imagine the circumstance that ever makes any sense at all,” he added.
Criticizing President Obama’ strategies abroad, particularly in Iran and Israel, Romney said the president’s “policy of trying to be personally popular and persuade people by apologizing for America doesn’t work.”
“Every effort was made to try to be friendly and engage in Iran [by Obama] at the same time what have they done: supported Hamas, supported Hezbollah, supported the Taliban and, of course, pursued with all due speed their own nuclear program,” Romney said. “We don’t make the world safer by trying to be popular, we make the world popular by demanding respect and by having strength.
“He treats our foes with respect and our friends with disrespect,” said Romney, referencing what he said was the president’s “disrespectful” behavior toward Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt defended the president’s record overseas.
“The president kept his pledge to the nation to end the war in Iraq, he has promoted our security in Afghanistan and eliminated key al Qaeda leaders while strengthening American leadership around the world,” LaBolt said. “Mitt Romney would leave our troops in Iraq indefinitely without a clear mission. And while a commander-in-chief only gets one chance to get it right, on every key foreign policy issue facing our nation — from Afghanistan to Libya to China – Romney has been all over the map.”
On the eve of President Obama’s own trip to New Hampshire Tuesday where he will speak about his American Jobs Act, Romney said he’d like to “hear what he has to say.”
“I think that what he promised in New Hampshire four years ago is very different from what he’s delivered,” Romney said. “My guess is he won’t be reminding people of what he said four years ago. He’ll be trying to talk about something else.
“What I can’t understand is how you have a president who, with such promise that he offered three or four years ago campaigning here in Nashua, that he has been unwilling to be a leader,” Romney said.
“If I’m president, I won’t spend my time worrying how popular I am,” Romney said. “The president is a nice guy but he’s never led before. He didn’t lead in Illinois, he didn’t lead in the Senate and he’s sure as heck not leading in the White House.”