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Biden on foreign policy: Obama "has a big stick"


Updated at 10:30 p.m. ET

(CBS News) NEW YORK - Campaigning for the president on his foreign policy record, Vice President Joe Biden said on Thursday that his decision to kill Osama bin Laden shows that the president has a "backbone like a ramrod."

"Thanks to President Obama, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden said, referring to last year's killing of Osama bin Laden at his compound in Pakistan and the taxpayer bailout of General Motors.

"You have to ask yourself, 'had Governor Romney been president, could he have used the same slogan in reverse?' People are going to make that judgment. It's a legitimate thing to speculate on," Biden said.

In his remarks at the New York University Law School, the vice president reminded the audience of a statement Romney made in 2007 to the Associated Press that the United States shouldn't waste billions of dollars chasing bin Laden.

"It is not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just to catch one person," Biden said, quoting Romney. "Here is how candidate Obama answered that question: He said, quote, 'If I have bin Laden in my sights, I will take him out. I will kill bin Laden. We will crush Al Qaeda. This has to be our biggest national security priority.'"

Biden suggested that President Obama is the clear choice this election and made the joke that the incumbent candidate has a lot to be confident about.

"I promise you, the president has a big stick," Biden said.

Biden spoke to students and faculty on campus in his fifth campaign speech, and he attacked Romney for a lack of foreign policy experience.

"It seems to me, Gov. Romney's fundamental thinking about the role of the president on foreign policy is fundamentally wrong," Biden said. "That kind of thinking may work for a CEO, but I assure you it will not and cannot work for a president and will not work for a commander in chief."

Just before Biden gave his speech bashing Romney's credibility, the Romney campaign's foreign policy team held a conference call to counter the vice president's attacks.

"If anything, it is President Obama's track record that has sent a message to our friends and allies, be they in governments or be they in dissident movements who want to stand with us, who want to lock arms with us, who are looking to American leadership, who are really left exposed and isolated in a way that I have not seen in American foreign policy history for years," Dan Senor, Romney foreign policy adviser said to reporters on the conference call.

The Romney surrogates went on to say that it was unwise to publicly announce the 2014 withdrawal date from Afghanistan.


"Mitt Romney will never announce or will not announce our military plans to enemies like the Taliban; now, does Mitt Romney still think the 2014 time frame is operable as a point at which we can hand over combat operations? Based on conditions on the ground as evaluated by the military commanders, he does," Alex Wong, Romney's foreign policy director, said. "But he would never have publicly announced and publicly communicated that date to our enemies."

During his speech in New York, Biden addressed this assertion head on, saying the U.S. publicly sets dates for troop withdrawals from Iraq and Afghanistan in order to convince leaders in those nations they had to take control of their own countries.

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