Romney: No Permanent Bases
The Mittster wanders off the reservation:
"Our objective would not be a Korea-type setting with 25-50,000 troops on a near permanent basis remaining in bases in Iraq," the former Massachusetts governor told the Associated Press.
"I think we would hope to turn Iraq security over to their own military and their own security forces, and if presence in the region is important for us than we have other options that are nearby," Romney said.
Presidential spokesman Tony Snow says Bush has cited the Korea analogy in looking at the U.S. role in Iraq, and the president has suggested that his successor will inherit the unpopular war now in its fifth year.
Romney said the comparison sends the wrong message.
"We have communicated to the people in the region and the country that we're not looking to have a permanent presence in Iraq and I don't think we want to communicate that we were just kidding about that," he said.
Romney noted that the U.S. has bases in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Qatar, and said: "We can have a presence in the region, but I think that at this time we need to exercise care not to communicate to insurgents something that they can use to say 'Ah ha! America does intend to be an occupier forever!'"
Romney has cleverly let Giuliani and McCain head to the far right end of the room in their unwavering support for whatever Bush wants to do in Iraq before he positioned himself yesterday as the sensible alternative to independent voters.