Romney: Afghan troop announcement "naive"

Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign rally at Brady Industries Feb.1, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada. Getty Images/Ethan Miller

Mitt Romney
Getty Images/Ethan Miller
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Continuing his offensive against President Obama's national security stances, Mitt Romney on Wednesday accused Defense Secretary Leon Panetta of being "misguided and naive" for announcing earlier that the U.S.-led NATO coalition would end its combat role in Afghanistan next year.

The Obama administration had previously promised that the United States would keep troops in Afghanistan until 2014, but Panetta told reporters traveling with him in Brussels that the shrinking of its military footprint hopefully could occur in the mid- to latter part of 2013.

Romney, at a rally in Las Vegas, said some administration actions "are calculated on a philosophy that's hard to understand and sometimes you scratch you head and say how can he be so misguided and so naive? Today his secretary of defense unleashed such a policy."

He added, "So the Taliban hears it, the Pakistanis hear it, the Afghan leaders hear it. Why in the world do you go to the people that you're fighting with and tell them the date you're pulling out your troops? It makes absolutely no sense. His naivete is putting in jeopardy the mission of the United States of America and our commitments to freedom. He is wrong. We need new leadership in Washington."

Full CBS News coverage: Mitt Romney

  • Sarah B. Boxer On Twitter»

    Sarah B. Boxer covers politics for CBS News.

Comments