In the nearly 20 months since Mitt Romney lost the election to President Barack Obama, many of the former Massachusetts governor's predictions have played out on the world stage.
For instance, Romney called Russia the nation's "number one geopolitical foe"; he pledged strong support for Israel amid tense relations with Iran and other neighbors; declared that corporations are "people" — and said that illegal immigration remained a continued threat to the American economy.
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As many realities have developed in the U.S. and abroad, Romney's popularity has increased in national polls — and it is believed that he is considering a White House run in 2016.
"Mitt Romney, in retrospect, was not omniscient," Bradley Blakeman, a former adviser to President George W. Bush, told Newsmax. "He saw what was there to be seen. He saw the world as it was — not the way he wished it would be.
"Obama believed that he could change the world with just his presence on the world stage and with his words. His hope was naïve and impossible," Blakeman added. "He was running for president, not messiah.
"He never has been able to match his words with deeds. And, today, if it were not for bad news — Obama doesn't make news."
Democratic pollster and analyst Doug Schoen told Newsmax that while Romney made the right calls on several issues, particularly Russia and Syria, his recent poll numbers are not as strong they were on Election Day in 2012.
Neither are Obama's, for that matter, he said.
"The American people are frustrated with both parties and the direction our country is heading," Schoen told Newsmax. "Romney does look better than he did in 2012, but very sadly America looks worse — and the American people are yearning more new leadership."
Here are some of Romney's statements and how things have developed:
"Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe. … They fight every cause for the world's worst actors. The... idea that [President Obama] has some more flexibility in mind for Russia is very, very troubling, indeed.
"Russia is not a friendly character on the world stage. … And for this president to be looking for greater flexibility, where he doesn't have to answer to the American people in his relations with Russia, is very, very troubling, very alarming."
-- CNN interview, March 26, 2012
Since his re-election in 2012, Russian President Vladimir Putin has worked vigorously to expand his power on several world fronts, particularly in Ukraine and Syria.
He responded to the Ukrainian revolution in February that ousted President Viktor Yanukovich by refusing to recognize the interim government and moving quickly to annex Crimea
with military troops.
The show of force led Ukraine's acting government to concede defeat and withdraw its troops from Crimea — and came despite warnings from President Obama that Moscow would face "costs" if it intervened in the region.
Putin then demanded and won his parliament's approval to invade Ukraine and rapidly escalated the Russian military presence there.
Obama and Putin have talked several times during the crisis, with the American president threatening to isolate Russia economically, while Putin declared that he had a right to invade his neighbor to protect Russian citizens there.
In Syria, Putin upstaged Obama last September by proposing that President Bashar Assad turn over his chemical arsenal to international control.
Putin seized on an off-hand comment by Secretary of State John Kerry that Syria could avoid a U.S. missile attack by turning over the chemical weapons. The Russian president insisted that the deal would only work if the United States agreed not to use force.
The move came one week after President Obama asked Congress to authorize a military strike against Syria
over its use of chemical weapons against civilians. The deal was signed in November, vaulting Putin into the world spotlight.
Putin even took to op-ed page of The New York Times two days after making his proposal to argue his case directly against U.S. military intervention in Syria. He also slammed Obama's idea of American exceptionalism, which the American president had highlighted in a national speech the previous night.
Relations between Obama and Putin remain frigid — and Putin weighs whether to engage more with Obama on Ukraine or risk more sanctions that could undermine Russia's economy, which is already nearing recession.
"Romney understood Putin more than a sitting president who dealt with him face to face with no results," Blakeman told Newsmax. "Romney knew Putin was playing Obama and knew that Russia's ultimate near-term goal was the cobble back the super power status of the old Soviet Union and needed to weaken and distract the U.S. to accomplish it."
"The president should have built a credible threat of military action and made it very clear that the United States of America is willing, in the final analysis, if necessary, to take military action to keep Iran from having a nuclear weapon. Look, one thing you can know and that is if we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon."
-- Republican Candidates Debate, St. Anselm College, N.H., Jan. 7, 2012
In August 2012, the United Nations reported that Iran had installed three-quarters of the nuclear centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel at a deep underground site at Fordow. The U.N. report described it as a major expansion of Iranian enrichment activities.
The Obama administration responded the following February with more crippling economic sanctions against Tehran amid charges by Israel that Iran is developing nuclear weapons and calls for increased international pressure.
In November, the United States and other world leaders signed a deal with Iran that would curb some of its nuclear activities in return for $7 billion in sanctions relief.
Many Republicans opposed the deal, despite assurances from President Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry that Iran would honor the agreement, and Israel called it a "historical mistake."
The deal led to talks on a final agreement to end Tehran's nuclear program — but they stalled over Iranian demands regarding the size of its future capabilities.
A new two-week round of talks began on Thursday amid concerns that no accord will be reached by a July 20 deadline.
"Romney was right when he stated that Obama was incapable of stopping Iran's development of a nuclear weapon," Blakeman told Newsmax. "Iran today has no credible threat that would prevent their nuclear program from proceeding full speed ahead and enjoys Russia's help."
"We have a solemn duty and a moral imperative to deny Iran's leaders the means to follow through on their malevolent intentions. We must not delude ourselves into thinking that containment is an option."
-- In Jerusalem, July 29, 2012
Relations between Israel and the United States have been spiraling downward throughout President Obama's stay in the White House — and it did not help when Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu endorsed Romney during the election.
Israel continues to oppose the nuclear talks with Iran, and Netanyahu has repeatedly said that his country stands ready to attack Tehran — unilaterally if necessary.
Instability has grown even worse in the Middle East with the uprising of the jihadist group ISIS, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and U.S. plans to "recognize and fund"
the new Palestinian Authority government.
The government unites the more moderate Fatah faction with Hamas, which is considered a terrorist organization by the U.S.
"Romney made it clear that Israel is our most valued ally that must be supported and not weakened by pandering to her enemies, thinking appeasement will make the region more stable and will lead to a pathway to peace," Blakeman said. "Under Obama's tenure, Israel is much more vulnerable as nations surrounding her are in chaos."
He added that the GOP presidential candidate had been "mocked by the media as someone who was a businessman, not a diplomat," adding that Obama had four years' experience as president.
"The only problem with that is that he had no successes and he presided over a meltdown of the Middle East, a more aggressive Iran and North Korea, a China and Russia that thwarted our foreign policy at the U.N., as well as bilaterally and multilaterally."
"Corporations are people, my friend. … Of course they are. Everything corporations earn ultimately goes to people. Where do you think it goes?"
-- Iowa State Fair, Aug. 11, 2011
The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled, in effect, that certain companies are entitled
to exercise religious rights, just as do people.
In a 5-4 decision, the justices backed Hobby Lobby Inc.'s right to object to the contraceptive mandate in Obamacare on religious grounds.
Justice Samuel Alito, writing for the majority, said protecting the religious rights of closely held businesses — often small, family-run operations — "protects the religious liberty of the humans who own and control them."
These companies cannot be forced to pay for their employees' insurance contraceptives, the court ruled.
The decision came four years after the justices agreed — also 5-4 in the Citizens United case — to expand the free-speech rights of businesses and labor unions. The court struck down limits on political spending by such groups.
That unleashed a huge flood of private money into political campaigns.
Companies are "are made up of people and act by and for them," Blakeman told Newsmax.
"It is common sense."
"I've indicated I would veto the DREAM Act if provisions included in that act say that people who were here illegally — if they go to school here long enough, if they get a degree here — then they can become permanent residents. I think that's a mistake.
"We have to follow the law and insist that those that have come here illegally return home and apply — get in line with everyone else."
-- GOP Candidates Debate, Myrtle Beach, S.C., Jan. 17, 2012
The U.S. has experienced a deluge of illegals
turning up at the border with Mexico, particularly in the last year amid hopes of comprehensive immigration reform.
Between Oct. 1 and June 15, more than 181,000 immigrants have been arrested by U.S. Border Patrol agents — and now, they are apprehending thousands of minors traveling alone.
More than 52,000 minors have been arrested in the same period alone.
The Rio Grande Valley area of South Texas has been a particular hotbed of activity, and Obama administration officials have come under intense fire by Republicans for creating what the president has described as "a humanitarian crisis" through reports in Central American media touting policies that defer deportation for certain groups of illegals.
This week, Obama vowed to respond to the crisis with executive action,
and he is expected to ask Congress next week for $2 billion to address the issue.
"Romney favored the principle of honoring the rule of law," Blakeman said. "He said that anything less would be unfair and invite further abuses.
"He also said that our first obligation is to secure our borders. Today, we are seeing a crisis of child migration to our southern border that proves if anything that our borders are anything but secure."
But despite Romney being on target on many issues, both Schoen and Blakeman told Newsmax that they doubted he would ever become the nation's chief executive.
"While Romney may never be president, he will be a leader within the GOP for years to come," Blakeman said. "Obama is likely to just fade away."
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