Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Saturday revved up his attacks on President Obama’s Mid East policy, suggesting the president fears that Israel might attack Iran more than he fears that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon, the Los Angeles Times reported.
Earlier this year, Romney said during a Republican debate on ABC: “If we reelect Barack Obama, Iran will have a nuclear weapon. And if we elect Mitt Romney, they will not have a nuclear weapon…”
Speaking to members of the evangelical Christian political organization Faith and Freedom Coalition, Romney responded with ridicule when asked what he would do, as president, to strengthen U.S.-Israel relations.
“I think, by and large, you can just look at the things the president has done and do the opposite,” Romney said, to laughter and applause from his audience. “You look at his policies with regards to Iran, he’s almost sounded like he’s more frightened that Israel might take military action than he’s concerned that Iran might become nuclear.”
His audience of 250 in the ballroom of a Washington hotel responded with extended applause and cheering.
Romney’s stump speech on Iran seeks to position that country’s nuclear aspirations as marking Obama’s greatest foreign policy failure:
“What he should have done is speak out when dissidents took to the streets and say America is with you and work on a covert basis to encourage the dissidents. Number two, he should have put in place crippling sanctions against Iran. But instead of getting Russia, for instance, to agree to those crippling sanctions, he gave Russia what they wanted, their number one foreign policy objective, and got nothing in return…
“… Finally, 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.”
Romney spoke over a video link from an outdoor site in Pennsylvania, against the background of his campaign bus. This was his second day of a six-state swing.
Romney said he plans to “forge a strong working relationship with the leadership in Israel. I would make it very clear that for us, as well as for them, it is unacceptable for Iran to become a nuclear nation and that we’re prepared to take any and all action to keep that from happening.” Once again, prolonged applause followed his words.
Romney said he would encourage countries like Turkey and Saudi Arabia to arm “the insurgents” in Syria.
“But perhaps overarching is this: I would not want to show a dime’s worth of distance between ourselves and our allies like Israel. If we have disagreements, you know, we can talk about them behind closed doors. But to the world, you show that we’re locked arm-in-arm,” he said.