Here are the four ways Mitt Romney is attacking President Obama on foreign policy: He's too wimpy like Jimmy Carter, he's too vain to do diplomatic drudgery, he's too callous to recognize the humanity of the people who died in Libya, and he's too bureaucratic to use the private sector to help developing countries. Before U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens died in Benghazi on September 11—literally hours before—BuzzFeed quoted Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O’Brien saying foreign policy was a "shiny object." But that was before the protests across the Middle East.
Attack 1: Carter II. "Turn on the TV and it reminds you of 1979 Tehran," Paul Ryan said in Ohio Monday, referring to the hostage crisis. The Republican National Committee has released a new ad showing clips of angry fiery protests in several countries. "This is a crisis of leadership," the text on the screen says.
Attack 2: Cold. Asked about the protests on 60 Minutes Sunday, Obama said, "I was pretty certain, and continue to be pretty certain, that there are going to be bumps in the road because, in a lot of these places the one organizing principle has been Islam." Romney pounced. "Bumps in the road?" Romney asked a crowd in Colorado, according to The New York Times. "These are not bumps in the road, these are human lives—these are developments we do not want to see. This is time for a president who will shape events in the Middle East, not just be merciful or be at mercy of the events of the Middle East." Romney said the same thing on ABC News: "I can’t imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road."
Attack 3: Vanity. Instead of meeting with world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, Obama is giving a speech and having Secretary of State Hillary Clinton do the meetings. On Monday, Obama sat for an interview with The View instead. "To me, it indicates a lack of willingness to lead in times of trouble," House Majority Leader Eric Cantor told reporters Monday. Romney has criticized Obama for not meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Attack 4: Big Government. Romney gave a speech at the Clinton Global Initiative calling for a "Prosperity Pact" Tuesday. Work, Romney said, has to be central to our assistance to less wealthy nations. U.S. foreign aid programs don't take into account that there's far more free enterprise money flowing into developing nations than aid money. Romney called for fostering entrepreneurialism, microfinance programs, and opening up markets for trade in developing nations. Bringing it full circle, if Obama is Carter, that means Romney gets to be Ronald Reagan. He pledged to create "what I call a 'Reagan Economic Zone,' where any nation willing to play by the rules can participate in a new community committed to fair and free trade."
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.