BEAVERCREEK, Ohio - After a military mother told him her daughter doesn't understand her mission in the Air Force, Mitt Romney questioned how President Obama can "sleep at night," knowing troops overseas don't understand "precisely what they're doing there."
"If your daughter is not familiar with the mission that she's on, how in the world can the commander in chief sleep at night, knowing that we have soldiers in harm's way that don't know exactly, precisely, what it is that they're doing there," Romney said.
Vicki Chura, from Fairfield, Ohio, was one of several people who stood to ask Romney a question this afternoon, explaining that her daughter, who she didn't name for privacy reasons, constantly tells her than she is desperate to come home from her deployment in Afghanistan.
"This is her second deployment. Her first deployment, she never once said I want to come home," said Chura, choking up as she spoke about her daughter, who is a first lieutenant in the Air Force. "This deployment has been extremely hard not only for her, but for my husband and I… Every email, every time we Skype, we hear 'I want to come home now. There is no mission here. We have no definition of a mission.'"
In his reply, Romney lambasted Obama for not keeping Americans in the know about the mission overseas.
"One of the things I've found most disturbing and hard to explain is how we can have our sons and daughters in conflict, risking their lives, and not have the president on a regular basis addressing the American people, describing what's happening, describing what our mission is, describing what the goals will be, describing how much progress we're making or whether there were setbacks and informing the people of America that there are other Americans making enormous sacrifices for our purposes and for our liberty," he said.
"Let me tell you this," he continued. "I know why we're involved in Afghanistan, and I know what it's going to take for us to be successful and bring our troops home. I want that to happen as soon as humanly possible. As soon as that mission is complete. And that mission is to pass along to Afghanistan a security force there that is capable of maintaining the sovereignty of that nation, such that we can get out and they can have the capacity to build their own nation.
"We will not, we will not be able to hand on a silver platter their freedom," he said. "They will have to fight for that, earn it, keep the Taliban from taking it away from them. But we've given them that opportunity. We need to finish the job of passing it off to them, and bring our troops home as soon as humanly possible."
Lis Smith, a spokeswoman for the Obama re-election campaign said in a statement following Romney's remarks, "Mitt Romney has no credibility to attack President Obama on Afghanistan."
"Under the President's leadership, we are decimating al Qaeda and the Afghans are preparing to step up and take control of their security," said Smith. "Mitt Romney, on the other hand, has failed to outline any plan at all for what he would do in Afghanistan and has even made clear that he would leave our troops there indefinitely."