Obama: Romney foreign policy attacks will wither in debates

Republican presidential hopeful former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney talks about his plan for creating jobs and improving the economy during a speech Tuesday, Sept. 6, 2011, in Las Vegas, at McCandless International Trucks. AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

If Mitt Romney wins in South Carolina, it's likely that he will face President Obama in the 2012 election
AP Photo/Julie Jacobson

President Obama offered a preview of the foreign policy narrative that he will apply in the 2012 election debates versus his GOP opponent, who is likely to be Mitt Romney if he can win in South Carolina on Saturday. 

In an interview with Time's Fareed Zakaria, Mr. Obama defended his administration's foreign policy actions, calling Romney's attacks "primary posturing" that will wither under the glare of "a serious debate."

Romney has described Mr. Obama's foreign policy as an "an appeasement strategy" and has said the president "apologizes for America." In his New Hampshire primary victory speech earlier this month, Romney attacked the president's foreign policy: 

"Internationally, President Obama has adopted an appeasement strategy. He believes America's role as leader in the world is a thing of the past. I believe a strong America must - and will - lead the future."

"He doesn't see the need for overwhelming American military superiority. I will insist on a military so powerful no one would think of challenging it."

"He chastises friends like Israel; I'll stand with our friends."

"He apologizes for America; I will never apologize for the greatest nation in the history of the Earth."

"Overall, I think it's going to be pretty hard to argue that we have not executed a strategy over the last three years that has put America in a stronger position than it was than when I came into office," Mr. Obama told Time.

"I think there is a strong belief that we continue to be a superpower unique perhaps in the annals of history that is not only self-interested but is also thinking about how to create a set of international rules and norms that everyone can follow, everyone can benefit from,"  he added.

In response to Romney's contention that Iran would have a nuclear weapon if the president won reelection, Mr. Obama said, "I have made myself clear since I began running for the presidency that we will take every step available to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Can we guarantee that Iran takes the smarter path? No, which is why I've repeatedly said we don't take any options off the table in preventing them from getting a nuclear weapon."

The full interview will be available on Thursday online for Time subscribers.

  • Dan Farber On Twitter»

    Dan has more than 20 years of journalism experience. He has served as editor in chief of CBSNews.com, CNET News, ZDNet, PC Week, and MacWeek.

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