Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney focused on foreign policy during a speech at The Citadel in Charleston this morning. He followed previous candidates George W. Bush and John McCain, whose successful nomination bids included speeches at the academy.
During the speech, he promised to expand the nation’s naval fleet, strengthen ties with Mexico, and restore funding for missile defense in Europe. “Our next president is going to face many difficult and complex foreign policy decisions. Few of them will be black and white,” Romney said, “But I’m here today to tell you that I’m guided by one overwhelming conviction and passion: this century must be an American century.”
With Citadel cadets behind him as a backdrop, Romney took shots at President Obama over foreign policy positions. “If you do not want America to be the strongest nation on Earth, I am not your president,” he said, “You have that president today.”
One thing Romney did not dwell on was Afghanistan. Friday marks the tenth anniversary of American troops entering the country. The U.S. currently plans to withdraw its combat troops from Afghanistan by 2014, although some personnel would remain behind to train the Afghan military.
Romney did hint he was uncomfortable with pulling out entirely, questioning if it would lead to a doomsday scenario that involved the Taliban returning to power.
However, Romney spent little time on the issue of al Qaeda or other terrorist organizations. Supporters of Obama point out many high-profile targets have been killed on his watch (most notably Osama bin-Laden).
The former Massachussetts governor leads most national polls at the moment, but currently trails Texas Governor Rick Perry in South Carolina. He has only made two stumps speeches in the state since officially entering the race and both were in the Lowcountry. He did appear in a special forum hosted by Sen. Jim DeMint in Columbia last month.