One Pagers

Flip Flopping On Foreign Policy

October 09, 2012 1:56 pm ET
Mitt Romney’s flip flops are so commonly accepted as political that their real world implications, especially for American security, are often overlooked. When Vice President Biden and Rep. Ryan face off in Thursday's debate, expect Romney's widely-panned foreign policy speech to come up. Here's how to connect it to a broader narrative about Romney and what America needs in a Commander-in-Chief.


Flip flopping on foreign policy just to score political points puts America’s security at risk.

Connect: Keeping America safe and secure is the most important responsibility of our Commander-In-Chief.

Define: A politician who flip flops around on America’s affairs abroad just to score political points at home puts our nation's security at risk.

Differentiate: Adjusting strategy to reflect America's best interests is one thing. It’s another for a politician to flip flop around on our troops, diplomats, and nation just to advance his own self-interest.

Illustrate: Romney used to say peace in the Middle East is impossible, we should ignore Libya, and leave Afghanistan. But now he's saying the opposite so he can attack the President politically.

Remind: Romney also says Russia is America's biggest enemy, goes on overseas tours where he insults our nation's allies, and fumbled the Libya crisis so badly that even Republicans called him reckless and incompetent.

Warn: Flip-flopping around just for political convenience isn't a foreign policy -- it's a political strategy that puts American lives in jeopardy. We can't afford a flip-flopper in charge of America's national security.  

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ATTACK: "Obama won't crack down on China but Romney will."

FACTS: Romney has a personal investment in a state-owned China oil company, as well as a tax plan to encourage U.S. corporations to create 800,000 jobs in other countries instead of America.

ATTACK: "We’re less safe under Obama."

POLL: Poll after poll shows that most Americans trust President Obama on foreign policy and national security, not Romney.

ATTACK: "Romney will roll back Obama's deep and arbitrary cuts to our national defense."

FACTS: The U.S. defense budget is six times that of China's and equal to that of more than the next 17 highest spending countries combined. If the "trigger" spending reductions go through, the Pentagon budget would return to 2007 levels -- a time when we were paying for two major wars.

ATTACK: "Obama's abrupt withdrawal of our entire troop presence in Iraq undermines our gains there."

  • Politicians who want to keep our troops in Iraq forever have zero credibility on Iraq. And let's remember that Romney is surrounded by Bush advisors who pushed us into Iraq by getting the facts wrong and pressuring us to go to war in the first place.
  • Iraq is America's partner in the region, but the Iraqis are capable of governing and defending themselves. Iraq is now a free and independent democracy.
  • Our troops did their job in Iraq. That's why they’ve come home and we're sending our diplomats and military trainers instead to help the Iraqis keep their country and the region safe and stable.
  • Responsibly ending the Iraq War allows us to renew our focus on the fight against terrorism and rebuilding America's economic strength. That makes us stronger around the world.

FACTS: It was under President Bush in 2008 when U.S. and Iraqi officials agreed that all American troops would leave Iraq by the end of 2011. Our top military commanders have also affirmed that Iraqi security forces are capable of protecting their country on their own. 

We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. See here for some of the experts and organizations we draw on.



Posted in - Foreign Policy - National Security - 2012 Elections

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