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Biden: National security would "not be as strong" under Romney

May 06, 2012|By Christi Parsons
  • Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Naval Observatory in Washington, D.C.
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the Naval Observatory in Washington,… (Brendan Smialowski / AFP/Getty…)

Vice President Joe Biden said Sunday morning that American national security wouldn’t be as strong if Republican Mitt Romney were president, based on his recent assertion that Russia is the country’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

“If that’s his prism through which he views our national security interests, I would say it would not be as strong,” Biden told David Gregory on “Meet the Press.”

The vice president also questioned whether Romney would have authorized the killing of Osama bin Laden -- not because Romney wouldn’t have acted the same way on the intelligence about the terrorist’s location, he said, but because he wouldn’t have gotten the intelligence in the first place.

“I know he wouldn’t have gotten the same information because he said he would not turn heaven and Earth to go get him,” Biden said.

Romney said last week that he would have done the same thing President Obama did at the Bin Laden compound in Pakistan, as aides pointed to a statement he made in 2007 that Bin Laden was “going to pay and he will die.”

Marking the one-year anniversary of the Bin Laden killing, though, Obama indirectly noted another Romney pronouncement from that same time period: Romney said he believed it wasn’t worth “moving heaven and Earth and spending billions of dollars just to catch one person.”

In part because of that oblique reference – Obama didn’t name Romney as he made it – some critics complained the commemoration of the anniversary was a little over the top.

Obama advisor David Axelrod said Sunday morning that the president wasn’t “spiking the ball” in excessive celebration of the moment, but that it is a “legitimate part of his record to talk about.”

If the raid hadn’t been successful, Axelrod told ABC’s Jake Tapper, “you better believe the other side would be talking about it.”

Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) suggested that Romney’s “heaven and Earth” remark wasn’t as incriminating as the administration suggests.

“I think what Mitt was saying also, if you looked at the entire context of his remarks, was that Bin Laden was part of the overall war on terror and we shouldn't just focus on that,” McCain told Tapper.

McCain said he thinks Obama is vulnerable on other points of foreign policy, charging that Obama was insufficiently supportive of Iranian election protesters in 2009 and that he made a mistake by withdrawing too quickly from Iraq.

“On Israel, relations have never been worse,” McCain said. “And now Syria, thousands of people being massacred in the streets, and the president -- I'm not making this up -- goes to the Holocaust Museum, where we said ‘never again,’ and says that he is setting up an Atrocities Prevention Board.  I'm not making that up.”

The comments come a day after Obama officially kicked off his reelection campaign with visits to two swing states, a development that appears to have ushered in a new stage for the political discourse.

Biden spoke pointedly about Romney, by name, challenging over and over again his economic policies as well as his past remarks on foreign policy.

With his critical analysis of Obama’s own record on the world stage, McCain signaled that Republicans don’t intend to cede that territory.

McCain offered a small piece of on-air advice to Romney as he chooses a running mate, that he consider one key question during the deliberations.

“If something happened to him," McCain said, "would that person be well-qualified to take that place?”

Meanwhile, Axelrod insisted that the president’s team isn’t worried about a lack of enthusiasm for their candidate this time, even though there were some empty seats at Saturday’s rallies at college campuses in Ohio and Virginia – something rarely if ever seen at Obama rallies of 2008.

The arena at the University of Ohio has a capacity of 20,000 but seated 14,000 on Saturday.

“The fact is,” said Axelrod, “that 14,000 is 11,000 more than the largest crowd that Mitt Romney has ever drawn.”

christi.parsons@latimes.com

Original source: Biden: National security would "not be as strong" under Romney

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