September 15, 2012


Obama and Romney Might Not Fight So Much on Foreign Policy If They Disagreed More (ELSPETH REEVE, SEP 14, 2012, Atlantic)

After several days of fierce campaign fighting, blustery press releases and snippy surrogates on cable, the major differences between President Obama and Mitt Romney on foreign policy are ones of personality, not policy -- and even the personality differences are probably overstated.  As President, Obama has largely kept in place the counterterrorism programs put in place by the Bush administration after 9/11. Romney has hired Bush administration alums like Dan Senor and John Bolton for his foreign policy team. While there have been some times in which Republicans have criticized Obama for not being aggressive enough in Libya, and then too agressive, Romney eventually agreed that the world was better off without Muammar Qaddafi. And on the big fight between the campaigns this week, they mostly agree. Romney condemned Obama for sympathizing with the attackers on the American embassies in Cairo and Benghazi because the Cairo embassy posted a condemnation of an anti-Islam film. Obama doesn't disagree with Romney that the statement was dumb. "The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official said. But that said, Romney doesn't completely disagree with the sentiment that both he and the President think shouldn't have been released. He told ABC News' George Stephanopoulos:

I think it's dispiriting sometimes to see some of the awful things people say.  And the idea of using something that some people consider sacred and then parading that out a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong. And I wish people wouldn't do it. Of course, we have a First Amendment. And under the First Amendment, people are allowed to do what they feel they want to do. They have the right to do that, but it's not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film.

That's not all that different from what the embassy said:

"Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

Posted by at September 15, 2012 8:13 AM

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