Mitt Romney speaks at the Republican Jewish Coalition's 2012 Republican… (Molly Riley / Reuters )
Mitt Romney on Wednesday urged Republicans to choose their nominee carefully in 2012, saying Americans will want more than just a chance to unseat President Obama.
Speaking at the Republican Jewish Coalition Forum in Washington, Romney lambasted the incumbent for adopting a foreign policy of "appeasement" that "betrays a lack of faith in America."
"Obama doesn't understand America," Romney said. "This president appears more generous to our enemies than he is to our friends. Such is the natural tendency of someone who is unsure of America's strength – or of America's rightful place in the world."
Romney did his part to accuse the administration of undermining Israel, and said he had "immeasurably set back the prospect of peace in the Middle East." But he acknowledged he would not be the only candidate making that case before the hawkish, pro-Israel crowd.
"We are not distinguished from one another by our opposition to President Obama, or even by our support for Israel. What distinguishes us is our experience, our perspective, and our judgment," he said.
He said in his life, he's shown his "commitments are firm, and they do not falter." And in making a case against Obama, he also made a more direct argument for his own candidacy.
"Many think that because of his staggering failures, President Obama will be easily defeated. But as you know, an incumbent is rarely turned out of the White House, and he will resort to anything," Romney said.
"Our party must offer a candidate who can make the case for freedom, opportunity and strength. Our nominee must offer Americans more than just a choice to vote against President Obama. Our nominee must give Americans an opportunity to vote for a different path and a better future. A path dictated not by government, but determined by a free people."
Though he never mentioned Newt Gingrich by name, he again sought to make clear the contrast between the two.
"I'm not a creature of Washington. I'm a creature of the private sector," he said. "I'm not in this because I want the next step in my political career. I don't have a political career!"