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Kerry compares Romney to Sarah Palin, and not in a good way

September 06, 2012|By James Rainey

CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Sen. John Kerry lauded President Obama for ending the “disaster and disarray” of U.S. foreign policy and restoring America’s reputation overseas, accusing Republicans of telling lies about Obama’s record and successes.

Playing off the Republican question whether America is better off than when Obama took office, Kerry said, “Ask Osama Bin Laden if he's better off now than he was four years ago!”

The crowd rose to its feet and roared in response.

Later in his address, Kerry took an even harder dig at GOP nominee Mitt Romney. The Massachusetts senator compared Romney to Sarah Palin. During the 2008 campaign, Palin infamously noted that Russia could be seen from parts of the state of Alaska, where she served as governor. Romney, Kerry reminded the audience, once named Russia as America’s “No. 1 geopolitical foe.”

“Folks, Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska,” Kerry quipped. “Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching ‘Rocky IV’ “

Bringing foreign policy to center stage on the final night of the Democratic National Convention, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee mocked Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney for being “out of his depth” during a recent overseas tour.

“It wasn’t a goodwill mission,” Kerry said. “It was a blooper reel.”

PHOTOS: Protests of the DNC

The Democrats gave a warm greeting to the senator from Massachusetts, a man many rallied around eight years ago. Kerry came within 118,000 votes in Ohio of being elected president in 2004. He was on the short list to be secretary of State before Obama chose Hillary Rodham Clinton.

“It took President Obama to restore our moral authority and ban torture,” Kerry told the delegates in a speech before network television began its nightly coverage. “This president understands that our values don't limit our power -- they magnify it. He understands that global leadership is a strategic imperative for America, not a favor we do for other countries.”

The senator argued that Obama had taken the wise and measured course in Libya by building a broad coalition with other nations to protect civilians against troops and militias loyal to dictator Moammar Kadafi, instead of trying to do the mission alone. Republicans have accused Obama of being too timid in that case and others, charging that he “led from behind.”

Kerry said it “isn’t fair to say Romney doesn’t have a position” on Iraq and Afghanistan. “He has every position,” he charged.

And then trotting out the line used against him to portray him as a flip-flopper in 2004, he added, “Talk about being for it before he was against it.”

The crowd roared again.

Kerry reserved one of his harshest zingers for Romney’s trip to England and Israel this summer. The former private equity magnate insulted Brits when he suggested they might not be prepared for the Olympic Games (earning the sobriquet “Mitt the Twit” from one tabloid).

Romney then offended Palestinian leaders by suggesting that cultural differences between Israelis and Palestinians accounted for Israel’s economic success, rather than restrictions imposed by the Israeli government on the Palestinian economy.

A large group of military veterans joined Kerry, a highly decorated veteran of the Vietnam War, after he spoke. As they paid tribute to America’s troops and wounded warriors, the crowd waved signs saying “Thank You” and chanted “USA! USA!”

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James.rainey@latimes.com

Twitter: @LATimesrainey

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