Keep Talking Mitt
If you think the Obama campaign machinery is afraid of Mitt Romney in a general election, guess again. Romney made the mistake of attacking Obama's announcement earlier today that all combat troops would be out of Iraq by the end of 2011, with this stupid critique:
President Obama’s astonishing failure to secure an orderly transition in Iraq has unnecessarily put at risk the victories that were won through the blood and sacrifice of thousands of American men and women. The unavoidable question is whether this decision is the result of a naked political calculation or simply sheer ineptitude in negotiations with the Iraqi government. The American people deserve to hear the recommendations that were made by our military commanders in Iraq.
But as Politico noted,
It's a short step from here, though, to a dangerous political place: Romney wants to keep the troops in Iraq.
And Obama's counterpunch was swift:
The Obama campaign accused Mitt Romney of wanting to "leave American troops" in Iraq for no apparent reason in a statement Friday, hours after the GOP frontrunner called the withdrawal of U.S. forces a "failure" on the part of the president.
"The President kept his pledge to the nation to end the war in Iraq in a responsible way, he has promoted our security in Afghanistan and eliminated key Al Qaeda leaders while strengthening American leadership around the world," Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said in a statement. "Mitt Romney didn't lay out a plan to end the war in Iraq in his foreign policy agenda - he barely even mentioned Iraq - but he is apparently willing to leave American troops there without identifying a new mission."
And then came the kneecapper:
LaBolt's kicker: "Mitt Romney's foreign policy experience is limited to his work as a finance executive shipping American jobs overseas."
As Politico noted right away,
The Obama campaign's weapons-grade response confirms, yet again, that Chicago is more than willing to make national security a big part of the 2012 campaign. Or at least, as big a part of the campaign as it can be, in the context of an economic slump.
LaBolt's statement shows how the president can at least try to have it both ways on defense issues: He's running as the candidate who's tough on terror and as the candidate who ended the war, at the same time.
Make no mistake, even though Obama is vulnerable on the economy, the campaign team will beat the crap out of all Republican pretenders on issues of national security. And no, there isn't anyone afraid of Mitt Romney at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue.