The Election 2012 Weekly Report: A post-Gingrich world
Biden goes on the attack, but doesn’t ‘stick’ the landing Vice President Joe Biden continued to step into his role as the Obama campaign’s leading national-security attack dog with a speech at New York University on Thursday that questioned Mitt Romney‘s credentials to serve as commander-in-chief and accused him of distorting the president’s record. "If ...
Biden goes on the attack, but doesn't ‘stick' the landing
Biden goes on the attack, but doesn’t ‘stick’ the landing
Vice President Joe Biden continued to step into his role as the Obama campaign’s leading national-security attack dog with a speech at New York University on Thursday that questioned Mitt Romney‘s credentials to serve as commander-in-chief and accused him of distorting the president’s record. "If you’re looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it’s pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden said. He also again mocked Romney’s suggestion that Russia is America’s primary geopolitical foe and defended the administration’s handling of the Iranian nuclear program, saying, "The only step we could take that we aren’t already taking is to launch a war against Iran. If that’s what Gov. Romney means by a ‘very different policy,’ he should tell the American people."
Unfortunately for Biden, the line of the speech that got by far the most coverage was his confident assertion that "the president has a big stick."
Rubio grabs the spotlight
The day before Biden’s speech, Florida Sen. Marco Rubio made a "major foreign policy address" of his own at the Brookings Institution. The speech generated quite a bit of buzz thanks to suggestions that Rubio may be on the shortlist for Romney’s running mate. (For the record, Rubio has repeatedly denied that he’s interested in being vice president.)
But despite the expectation that Rubio would use the speech as an audition for a spot on the ticket, Rubio differed from Romney on topics including foreign aid, the use of force in Syria and Libya, and negotiating with Iran. Saying that he often feels more affinity with hawkish democrats than isolationist republicans in the Senate, Rubio joked that "on foreign policy, if you go far enough to the right, you wind up on the left."
The Syria debate
Sure enough, the very next day Rubio found himself in a tussle with fellow Senate Republicans over a resolution he had co-sponsored condemning the Bashar al-Assad regime’s violence in Syria. GOP Senators including Richard Lugar and Bob Corker objected to language calling on Assad to step down. The debate highlighted a split in opinion within the party on Syria. House GOP members demanded assurances this week that the White House would notify Congress in accordance with the war powers act should military action be taken in Syria.
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton called his week for the U.N. Security Council to impose an arms embargo and other tough measures on Syria. Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey also told Congress that the Pentagon would be ready to provide military options in Syria should it be required.
Romney has advocated support for the anti-Assad opposition, but stopped short of supporting military involvement — breaking with more aggressive members of his party such as Sen. John McCain. Romney campaign foreign policy director Alex Wong said this week that the Obama administration has been "shamefully absent from this crisis" in Syria.
After five devastating primary losses to Romney, Newt Gingrich‘s campaign announced on Wednesday that the candidate is finally dropping out … though not until next Tuesday. A spokesman said Gingrich is "laying out plans now how as a citizen he can best help stop [an] Obama second term and win congressional majorities." It’s thought that he will most likely endorse Romney.
The former speaker of the House ends his campaign having won two states and 137 delegates — but he leaves behind a legacy of out-of-the-box ideas on topics ranging from the virtues of janitorial work to algae fuels to conquering the moon.
Just like Condi
A CNN poll this week found that former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is a narrow favorite among Republicans for Romney’s VP pick. (Now teaching at Stanford, she has said repeatedly that she’s not interested in the job.) Rice, at 26 percent, is followed by Rick Santorum, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, and Marco Rubio. Interesting, despite the Florida senator’s moderate views on immigration and internationalist foreign policy, he’s still the favorite among self-described Tea Party supporters.
The latest from FP:
Paul Miller makes the case for Gen. David Petraeus as vice president.
Responding to Biden’s speech, Michael A. Cohen says the Democrats need to decide if Romney is George W. Bush or Michael Dukakis.
Romney campaign advisor Richard Williamson says the recent North Korean nuclear test was Obama’s Jimmy Carter moment.
Aaron David Miller offers 5 reasons why he believes Obama has the election in the bag.
Joshua E. Keating thinks Rubio’s speech was pitched more toward 2016 than 2012.
Scott Clement looks at whether Americans still hate the United Nations.
From Passport, the difference between a slip of the tongue and genuine ignorance.
Joshua Keating was an associate editor at Foreign Policy. Twitter: @joshuakeating
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