DNC: Romney's 'Jihad' Ad Shows Lack of Foreign Policy Credentials

WASHINGTON, Oct. 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following is being issued by the Democratic National Committee:

As part of his multimillion-dollar marketing campaign, smooth talking Mitt Romney today rolled out a new ad, entitled "Jihad," that aims to distract from his complete lack of foreign policy credentials and litany of blunders on international affairs. Unfortunately for Romney, all the ad does is expose his superficial knowledge of the threat facing our country and highlight the fact that a Romney presidency would offer four more years of President Bush 's failed foreign policy.

In the ad, Romney completely ignores the number one foreign policy issue in this campaign: the war in Iraq . Worse, Romney reiterates his misleading rhetoric about "violent, radical Islamic fundamentalism," declaring that "their goal is to unite the world under a single Jihadist caliphate" and "collapse freedom-loving nations like us." But, as critics have pointed out, Romney's ill-informed and dangerously oversimplified outline of the threat is "misleading" and completely ignores the reality on the ground in Iraq and in the Muslim world, including the facts that Shias and Sunnis are "fighting a civil war in Iraq " and many of the groups Romney typically cites "have not targeted the United States ." [ Boston Globe, 5/27/07; Texas Monthly, 8/07] Romney's rhetoric may not match reality, but it parallels President Bush 's misleading efforts to generate support for his failed Iraq strategy by claiming the war is part of a broader plan to "establish a violent political utopia across the Middle East , which they call caliphate." [Remarks by President Bush , 9/5/06]

Romney's latest demonstration of his ignorance of the terrorist threat follows his claim earlier this year that catching Osama bin Laden is "insignificant," and "not worth moving Heaven and Earth" for. [Associated Press, 4/26/2007]

"Mitt Romney's new ad shows that he still has no plan for Iraq , no plan for capturing Osama bin Laden, and no understanding of the threat facing our country," said Democratic National Committee spokesman Damien LaVera. "Echoing President Bush 's misleading rhetoric may help him with the right wing of the Republican Party, but if Romney doesn't understand the threat, how can he expect the American people to trust him with our national security?"

On National Security, Romney Still Doesn't Get It

Romney Blasted for Saying Lawyers Should Decide How to Defend America. Romney was blasted by the Wall Street Journal editorial page for his comments in this week's GOP debate about "deferring to lawyers to tell a President when he can and cannot use force to defend the country." "Egad. Call in the attorneys? Perhaps it is Mr. Romney 's experience in business that taught him to want lawyers at his elbow, given that no CEO can survive without them these days... But deferring to lawyers to tell a President when he can and cannot use force to defend the country is not the proper understanding of executive power under the Constitution, and it is dangerous if it is the first instinct of a Commander in Chief." [Wall Street Journal, editorial, 10/11/07]

Romney Caliphate Rhetoric Completely Ignores Reality. "By the time Romney, the tall, patrician former governor of Massachusetts, added his thoughts, the complex web of movements and ideologies in the Middle East had been simplified almost to the point of being nonsensical. 'Violent, radical jihadists want to replace all the governments of the moderate Islamic states, replace them with a caliphate,' he asserted. 'And to do that, they also want to bring down the West, in particular us. And they've come together as Shia and Sunni and Hezbollah and Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and Al Qaeda with that intent.' Never mind the fact that Shias and Sunnis were at that very moment fighting a civil war in Iraq or that Hamas and Fatah were on the verge of starting their own in Palestine." [Texas Monthly, 8/07]

Romney: Catching Osama "Insignificant," Said It's "Not Worth Moving Heaven and Earth" to Capture bin Laden. In an interview with the Associated Press on Thursday, April 26, 2007 , Republican Presidential Nominee Mitt Romney said, "the country would be safer by only 'a small percentage' and would see 'a very insignificant increase in safety' if al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden was caught because another terrorist would rise to power. 'It's not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.'" [Associated Press, 4/26/2007]

Romney Displays "Superficial" Knowledge on Iraq , "Never Mentions Iraq " in Stump Speech. A Time Magazine column highlighted Romney's "superficial" knowledge of the war and other top issues and blasted Romney for "the brazen cynicism of his candidacy," saying "he skims the surface of issues" in a stump speech that "never mentions Iraq ." In fact, on a recent swing through New Hampshire, Romney "cruised through two performances before the word Iraq perforated his balloon." When finally asked about it by a high school student, Romney "offered a welter of details... which sounded sort of knowledgeable but was actually quite superficial" before getting to the point: "he would support the President." [Time.com, 5/31/07]

Romney Praises Bush "Principled Leadership" on Iraq . The day after the President vetoed the Iraq troop withdrawal bill, Romney called the President to offer his support and commend his leadership. An adviser to Romney said that the presidential contender telephoned to "commend the President for his veto" and praise his "principled leadership in the war on terror." Romney's adviser made it clear that the campaign was not seeking to distance itself from Bush. "On the eve of this debate," said the adviser on the significance of the call, "it says we're not running from this guy at all." [Politico.com, 5/3/07]

Romney: We Can Move U.S. Troops to Our Bases in Saudi Arabia . Trying to smooth talk the voters into thinking he has an Iraq plan, Romney claimed the United States "can have a presence in the region" without permanent bases in Iraq because the U.S. "has bases in Saudi Arabia , Kuwait and Qatar ." [Associated Press, 6/7/07]

-- FLASHBACK: U.S. Closed All Bases in Saudi Arabia in 2003. Romney apparently forgot that President Bush withdrew virtually all U.S. troops and closed all U.S. bases in Saudi Arabia in 2003, a gaffe that highlights his lack of the foreign policy knowledge and experience. [Foxnews.com, 4/29/03]

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SOURCE Democratic National Committee