In a campaign speech delivered at New York University Law School, Biden laid out a robust defense of President Barack Obama’s foreign policy record, arguing that the Republican presidential nominee is rooted in a Cold War mentality and is uninformed about the current challenges facing the U.S. abroad, tells The Huff Post.
The remarks were Biden’s latest attempt to describe Mitt Romney as out of touch with Americans, and his foreign policy critique marked a shift from the Obama campaign’s focus on economic and domestic differences with the president’s Republican rival.
“If you’re looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” Biden said, stating that Obama’s decisions on both foreign and domestic policy had made the U.S. safer.
Joe Biden executed a point-by-point smackdown of Romney’s positions on Russia, Iran, and Afghanistan while defending the administration’s national security record, reports Reuters.
“Governor Romney, I think, is counting on collective amnesia,” Biden said.
“Americans know that we can’t go back to the future, back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone, shout to the world ‘You’re either with us or against us,’ lash out first and ask the hard questions later … isolate America instead of isolating our enemies,” he said.
He also blasted Romney for flip-flopping on issues.
“We know when the governor does venture a position it’s a safe bet that he previously took or will take an exactly opposite position,” Biden said, noting that Romney had originally supported setting a time frame for pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan only to later criticize Obama’s plan to do so by the end of 2014.
Biden critisized Romney’s comments that a president did not need to have foreign policy expertise because he could rely on advisers at the State Department.
“Governor Romney’s fundamental thinking about the role of the president in foreign policy is fundamentally wrong,” Biden said. “That kind of thinking may work for a CEO, but I assure you it will not and cannot work for a president, and it will not work for a commander in chief.”
On Israel, Biden said president Obama has stood firm in support of the Jewish state. He addd that Romney had accused Obama of “throwing Israel under the bus.”
“The governor is falling back on one of his party’s favorite tricks of late – distort and mischaracterize your opponent’s position. Keep repeating the distortions and mischaracterizations over and over again,” Biden said.
On Iran, Joe Biden said Romney’s call for crippling sanctions and a U.S. military presence in the Persian Gulf to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon simply mirrored Obama’s approach.
“The only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what Gov. Romney means by a `very different policy,’ he should tell the American people,” Biden said.
“He says we need ‘crippling sanctions,’ apparently unaware that through President Obama’s leadership we’ve produced just that: crippling sanctions,” Biden said, attacking Romney for “loose talk” of war that drives up oil prices and could boost Iran’s coffers.
“Now is the time to heed the timeless advice from Teddy Roosevelt: speak softly and carry a big stick,” Biden said. “I promise you, the president has a big stick.”
Romney adviser John Lehman in response accused Obama of a “gross abdication of leadership” that could have practical and political consequences.
“Why is the United States under Obama abdicating its leadership for keeping stability in the world?” asked Lehman, Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, during a conference call Romney’s campaign arranged with reporters before Biden spoke. “This is a serious crisis and perhaps could be the central issue in the campaign.”
He continued: “The Obama administration in a very studied and intentional way is withdrawing from leading the free world and maintaining stability around the world – what Obama calls leading from behind. But the reality is it’s opening up huge new vulnerabilities.”
Moreover, Romney’s campaign launched a conference call with reporters, describing the Obama administration as paralyzed over Syria and weak on Iran and North Korea.
“The vice president seems to focus on a fantasy narrative, if you will, about the Obama administration’s record in improving America’s relations in the world,” said Romney senior adviser Dan Senor.
“It is President Obama’s track record that has sent a message to our friends and allies, be they in governments or be they in dissident movements who want to stand with us, who want to lock arms with us, who are looking to American leadership, who are really left exposed and isolated,” Senor said.
Joe Biden’s New York speech was his fifth outlining key issues in the campaign. The others have been delivered in swing states, but in discussing national security, Vice President chose a venue near the epicenter of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, tells The Wall Street Journal.
The Obama campaign considers national security as an unusual strength, where Democrats often must prove they aren’t soft on defense. This month a Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll found that 43% of Americans believe Mr. Obama is better able than Mr. Romney to be a good commander in chief, and 33% opted for Mr. Romney.