Barack Obama’s approach to the war on terror shows “frightening naiveté,” Mitt Romney tells Newsmax.
“Even the peaceniks of the last decade have recognized that the pre-911 thinking of the early 1990s was wrong,” Romney says. “The great majority of those who opposed the conflict in Iraq nevertheless recognize that it is a war against a radical, violent Islam. But Barack is one of the few who has still refused to speak out against radical violent Islam and jihadism.”
To suggest, as Obama has, that the way to deal with terrorists is to prosecute them “bespeaks a remarkable lack of understanding of the threat which we face,” Romney says.
Obama has said the government can crack down on terrorists “within the constraints of the Constitution.” He has said, “What we know is that, in previous terrorist attacks — for example, the first attack against the World Trade Center — we were able to arrest those responsible, put them on trial. They are currently in U.S. prisons, incapacitated.”
In the 1993 World Trade bombing, while some perpetrators were prosecuted, others, like Osama bin Laden, were not, Romney points out. Moreover, Romney says, since the 9/11 hijackers did not care if they were killed or sent to jail, and all died in the attack, it is foolhardy to suggest that the threat of prosecutions would be a deterrent.
“The thought that this is a criminal matter restricted to a few handfuls of individuals is completely out of touch with the reality of radical jihadism,” Romney says. “From the Phillippines to Malaysia to, of course, the Middle East to Pakistan to Nigeria — it’s a global effort, and it requires a response far different than calling up the local police department and asking the DA to prosecute them.”
Obama doesn’t get that we are in a new age, where “military might is essential,” Romney says.
“What we’re facing right now in al-Qaida and global violent jihadism is an enemy which has relatively crude weapons but highly motivated warriors,” he says. “Over the next decade or two, they will surely obtain highly sophisticated weapons with massive casualty potential. Now is the time to stop this enemy, because the consequences of ignoring them until they have massive casualty capability are almost unthinkable.”
Striking Differences Between Obama, McCain
In many respects, Romney says, Obama is the exact opposite of John McCain — not just on issues but with regard to straight talk.
“Barack Obama is appealing to the audience he thinks he needs to win,” Romney says. “Particularly during the primary, he appealed to the far left of his party, and with time you will watch him slowly but surely change his stripes and try and appeal more to the center and pretend he’s something he’s not.”
Already, Obama is re-branding himself, Romney notes.
“He said for instance he would vote against the proposed revision of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act, particularly if it included forgiveness for the telephone companies,” Romney says. “But now he says he’ll vote for FISA, even though it includes the telephone company issue.”
Obama said he would have personal meetings with the world’s “worst dictators without precondition,” Romney says. “Now he’s trying to change the language and suggest some kind of prior deliberation would take place.”
Obama said during the primary that the D.C. handgun law was constitutional. He wanted to make handguns illegal, Romney says.
“Now he exresses approval of the Supreme Court’s decision,” Romney says.
The biggest flip has been on campaign financing.
“He was very much in favor of public financing of campaigns and said he would take public financing. Now he’s moved very much off of that commitment,” Romney observes.
“These were not changes of perception by virtue of changed circumstances over years,” Romney says. “It is instead a change in a matter of weeks.”
Obama — Media Darling
Despite the flip-flops, the media have largely given Obama a pass.
“It is a remarkable feature of the mainstream media, to watch for instance how they magnified every aspect of Hillary Clinton’s weaknesses during the primary, and how soft was the touch on Barack Obama,” Romney says. “I think there’s a desire on the part of many in the mainstream media to recreate the Camelot years of John F. Kennedy. And there’s a hope that Barack Obama, Michelle Obama, and their young children can be like the Kennedys of old. And so we will have the rose-colored glasses probably throughout the campaign.”
To get a fix on who Obama is, one needs to look at Obama’s longtime association with the Rev. Jeremiah A. Wright Jr., Romney says.
“I think we know the real Barack Obama by virtue of what he’s done over the last 20 years,” Romney says. “He says he doesn’t agree with the most extreme things said by Reverend Wright. I’ll take him at his word. But I still wonder why he selected that minister as his religious mentor. His positions on Iraq and the comments he’s made during the primary campaign — for instance, his statement that he’ll visit the world’s worst dictators without condition in his first year — these tell you about who the real Barack Obama is.”
Obama is a “handsome, well-spoken individual, and he certainly whips up a crowd,” Romney says. “But he has so far in his life not achieved any of the measures of leadership. He has not led a private enterprise, nor has he led in the governmental setting. He is not the author or leader of any major legislative achievement. And that’s something, at age 40, something, that he has not yet demonstrated the qualities of leadership.”
In contrast, whether you love or hate him, “You have to conclude John McCain has been a remarkable leader, from his military service to his leadership in the Senate,” Romney says.
As the campaign proceeds, “Conservatives who take issue with some of McCain’s positions will recognize that the consequences of a Barack Obama presidency would be severe for the principles conservatives hold dear,” he predicts.
Romney notes that the U.S. Supreme Court decision on the Second Amendment “would have been a different decision if Barack Obama had the chance to have appointed a justice or two.”
Likewise, he says, the decision to provide some Constitutional rights to terrorists at Guantanamo “would have been decided differently if John McCain could appoint a justice or two.”
Over time, “Appointment of justices and the implications of the decisions of the court will loom very large in the minds of conservatives.”
Saying he won’t speculate on McCain’s choice of a running mate, Romney says, “He has a lot of good people to choose from. He’ll have to decide which of those will convince the American people that they could be president if necessary, and of course which one helps him in his campaign.”
Romney has been speaking on McCain’s behalf and has formed the Free & Strong America PAC that will further Romney’s future political ambitions. Besides acting as McCain’s surrogate and raising money for him, Romney has lent McCain his fundraising list of 130,000 names with mailing addresses.
Romney recently paid $12 million to buy a home on the ocean in La Jolla, Calif., near San Diego. His son Matt lives in the same area.
The former Massachusetts governor, whose main residence is in Belmont, Mass., says he has no plans to become a California resident, and the purchase has nothing to do with a possible future presidential run.
“I’ve always wanted to have a place on the beach where you could hear the crashing waves,” Romney says. “And you know, I’m 61; I’m not going to live forever. I said, ‘Ann, I want to get a place on the beach. I don’t care what size it is, but I want a place on the beach.’ And this spot, it’s not a huge home, it’s 3,000 square feet, but it is right on the beach, and you open the windows and hear the waves crash. It’s heavenly.”
Ronald Kessler is chief Washington correspondent of Newsmax.com. View his previous reports and get his dispatches sent to you free via
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