HILTON HEAD, S.C. - Appearing for the first time on the stump for Mitt Romney, former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton delivered a blistering review of President Obama's foreign policy, accusing the Commander-in-Chief of unfairly taking credit for the killing of Osama bin Laden.
"You know the irony is, he's campaigning on the basis that he's a success as a foreign policy president," said Bolton, who announced he would endorse Romney earlier this week, of President Obama. "It's just really amazing and you ask, what is it that made the success? And it's because Navy SEAL Team 6 killed Osama bin Laden. That's his definition of success."
"As somebody pointed out, in 1969 when Americans landed on the moon, it's like Richard Nixon taking credit for that, because it happened to occur during his presidency," said Bolton, who spoke alongside Romney, S.C. Gov. Nikki Haley and Sen. John McCain in a ballroom at a Hilton resort. "The fact of the matter is this president has been a failure across the board in foreign policy and it's jeopardized the United States in critical ways."
Bolton called Obama the "first president, Republican or Democrat, at least since Franklin Roosevelt, who didn't get up every morning thinking first about what threats the United States faces."
"He just doesn't care about national security the way other presidents did," said Bolton.
"Now I understand, the American people, when they look at a president from the national security point of view … they're not going to get into the specifics of the day to day of foreign policy," Bolton continued. "They're looking, when they look at national security issues, they're making a judgment on an old-fashioned word. They're making a judgment on character. They want a president who has judgment, who has steadiness of purpose, who has leadership, who won't falter in a crisis, and who doesn't believe that the role of America in the world is to be a well-bred doormat."
Bolton's message resonated with the room of more than 300, many of whom were veterans who had gathered for the "Veterans for Romney" forum, and who broke into applause frequently during the event. Hundreds more listened from outside on a balcony and in an overflow room, while even more never gained access to the packed event. Romney himself was given a police escort to reach the premises when the long driveway turned into a virtual parking lot of cars waiting to park.
Fellow Romney surrogates Haley and McCain also joined Bolton in defense of Romney, taking their time at the microphone to speak in support of free markets and private enterprise.
"I want to just remind you that we are conservatives, that we are Republicans, whether we're independents, whatever we are, what makes this country great is that we value the free market," said Haley. "Let's not let ourselves get involved in a debate and join the Democrats when we start trashing the free market or trashing private enterprise."
"I ask you to join me, it's a dangerous, dangerous hill to go down. We don't want to go down that," said Haley.
McCain turned to Staples, a company Romney helped finance with venture capital during his years at Bain, as an example of Romney's ability to turn around the economy.
"I'm sure that you know about Staples. Staples was started by Mitt Romney and others, $5 million and a warehouse. Today they have thousands and thousands of employees and are providing goods and services to the American people," said McCain. "Compare that with the view of this administration and this president and Solyndra."
"Mitt Romney believes that business creates jobs and the free enterprise system. And yes, sometimes some of them fail," said McCain.
"Yes, there were some jobs lost, but overall it's what the free enterprise system is all about," said McCain. "Jobs and business were created all over this country by Mitt Romney."