— -- Vice President Joe Biden says Mitt Romney's foreign policy views are dangerous and "totally out of touch" with the American people and could potentially lead a war-weary nation back "to the past we have worked so hard to move beyond."
Speaking at New York University, Biden linked the presumptive Republican nominee to the policies of former President George W. Bush, suggesting Romney's policies get the country back "into the mess President Obama has dug us out of."
He accused Romney of having a "profound misunderstanding" of how American foreign policy works and said he's embraced "dangerous and discredited policies" that could put the country in "danger."
"Americans know that we cannot afford to go back to the future," Biden said, speaking in a somber voice. "Back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone, shout to the world 'You're either with us or against us,' lash out first and ask the hard questions later, if at all."
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Romney, Biden declared, is counting on the "collective amnesia" of the country and suggested the presumptive GOP nominee hasn't been upfront with the American people about what exactly he would do if elected.
"Where does Gov. Romney stand? How would he protect our security?" Biden asked. "What would Gov. Romney do? The truth is, we don't know for certain. ... To the extent he's shown any foreign policy vision, it's through the glass of a rearview mirror."
Biden's remarks, one in a series of policy speeches he's delivered around the country in recent weeks, takes aim at what will be one of Romney's key talking points about his 2012 bid: that he'll keep the country safer than Obama, whom he has accused of implementing a naive foreign policy that has diminished the United States and alienated its allies.
But Biden challenged Romney's views, suggesting the former Massachusetts governor sees the world "through a Cold War prism." In his remarks at NYU, Biden said Romney's views would "isolate America instead of enemies ... waste hundreds of billions of dollars and risk thousands of American lives on an unnecessary war."
Biden accused Romney of engaging in "loose talk" about war with Iran that is unsettling to the world's oil markets and said the presumptive nominee had regularly "misrepresented" Obama's efforts to halt Tehran's efforts to obtain a nuclear weapon, arguing the White House had offered "tough diplomacy" and "smart leadership" on the issue.
He said Romney had flip-flopped on key foreign policy issues including setting a timeline for troop withdrawal in Afghanistan. And he attacked Romney's past comments that he would "outsource" foreign policy to the State Department.
[Related: Romney shifts focus to Obama, vows to unveil a 'better America']
"That kind of thinking may work for a CEO, but it will not work as a president ... not as a commander in chief," Biden said.
At the same time, the vice president offered a passionate defense of the Obama administration's foreign policy record. He said the president had acted "boldly" when dealing with global threats and had "decimated" al-Qaida's leadership. He insisted Obama's foreign policy record was the "strongest" in a decade.
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden said.
He said the president had moved to end an unpopular war in Iraq and had passed policies to end water-boarding and other interrogation measures that have been described as torture.
"We don't have to choose between protecting our country and living our values," Biden said.
Unsurprisingly, the Romney campaign disputed the vice president's views. In a conference call held shortly before Biden's remarks, Dan Senor, a Romney foreign policy adviser, accused Biden of perpetuating a "fantasy narrative" about Obama's foreign policy record.
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