Updated: 9:06 p.m. ET
(CBS News) In remarks at the Republican National Convention four years after he accepted the presidential nomination himself, John McCain railed against President Obama for his foreign policy record, lamenting what he cast as a "demand for leadership" in America, and calling on voters to elect Romney "the next leader of the free world."
The Arizona Senator, speaking on the second night of the convention festivities -- and his 76th birthday -- accused Mr. Obama of leading the nation "away from our proudest traditions of global leadership" during his tenure as president.
Targeting Mr. Obama over his decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan, for his position on Syria, and for the impending "sequester" cuts that threaten to impose major cuts to the Defense Department, he argued that "we've let the challenges we face, both at home and abroad, become harder to solve."
"Our president is not being true to our values," he said, accusing the president of failing to take inadequate action in Syria.
"We can't afford another $500 billion in cuts to our defense budget - on top of the nearly $500 billion in cuts that the president is already making," he continued. "His own secretary of defense has said that cutting our military by nearly $1 trillion would be "devastating."
"And yet, the president is playing no leadership role in preventing this crippling blow to our military," he added.
The across-the-board spending cuts are the result of a bipartisan congressional committee's failure, late last year, to come to a deal to reduce the deficit. A law that tasked the so-called "supercommittee" with reaching that deal dictated that the automatic cuts, which will hit the Defense Department with about $500 billion in reductions, would go into effect in the event that no deal could be reached.
Watch Sen. McCain explain why Mitt Romney's "Reagan instincts" will help him lead
McCain was one of 19 other Republican senators to vote for the bill, which passed by a bipartisan vote of 74-26.
The former presidential hopeful also ripped on Mr. Obama for a spate of recent high-level national security leaks, arguing that "we can't afford to have the security of our nation and those who bravely defend it endangered because their government leaks the secrets of their heroic operations to the media."
As he skewered the president's record on foreign policy and national security, McCain painted Romney as a leader who would stand up for good over evil, justice over tyranny, and love over hate.
"The demand for our leadership in the world has never been greater. People don't want less of America," he said. "I trust that Mitt Romney has that faith, and I trust him to lead us."