Romney’s Foreign Policy

My latest for The Atlantic, "What Would Romney's Foreign Policy Look Like?" has posted.

My latest for The Atlantic, “What Would Romney’s Foreign Policy Look Like?” has posted. The intro and conclusion:

 In the wake of the murder of U.S. Ambassador to Libya J. Christopher Stevens, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney inexplicably and ironically declared, “President Obama has demonstrated a lack of clarity as to a foreign policy.”


The Romney campaign’s  foreign policy approach ultimately suffers the same basic flaw as its domestic policy approach: in trying to be all things to all people, it ultimately satisfies no one. Those of us in the increasingly marginalized Realist foreign policy camp are left clinging to the hope that the appointment of seasoned hands like Bob Zoellick to the team signals that Romney will be the serious pragmatist that he was as governor of Massachusetts. But the empty saber rattling and cozing up to Netanyahu and John Bolton are attempts to satisfy the neoconservative wing that Mitt’s one of them.

The net result is that no one really knows what a Romney foreign policy would look like. Increasingly, I’m not sure that even Romney knows.

The meat of the argument is at the link. Comments welcome here or there.

FILED UNDER: 2012 Election, Published Elsewhere, US Politics, , , , , ,
James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm veteran. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. Greg says:

    Nailed it.

  2. al-Ameda says:

    Mitt Romney currently has no foreign policy other than, “what Obama is doing harms America,” that’s it. It’s a dangerous game he’s playing with that posture too. The public is definitely weary of our ten year war in Iraq and Afghanistan, however that does not translate to the public agreeing with Romney’s remarks strongly criticizing the president in the aftermath of the killing of Foreign Service Staff stationed in Libya.

  3. john personna says:

    I think you spent too much time dressing up Romney’s foreign policy.

    The real story is what isn’t there before the back-filling.

  4. john personna says:

    His book is “No Apology – A case for American Greatness”

    His policy, such as it is, is bellicose and ill informed.

    His consistent criticism of Obama is that he is not bellicose.

    That’s all. There is no deeper or more sophisticated foreign policy. That’s it.

  5. Spartacus says:

    James wrote: “The net result is that no one really knows what a Romney foreign policy would look like.”

    We should expect his foreign policy to be consistent with the statements he’s made on foreign policy. Why do you keep pretending that Romney is not as foolish as all of his statements suggest he is?

    And, it’s not critical to know the exact details of the foreign policy he’d like to implement. We don’t, and can’t, know those policy details about any candidate. But, we can know whether the candidate has good judgment. Romney clearly does not, but you’ll still vote for him anyway because he wears a red jersey.

  6. michael reynolds says:


    Romney and his team, reasonably enough, quickly jumped yesterday on a tepid statement from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that seemed to apologize for the American tradition of free speech in the wake of the storming of the embassy.

    It’s a fine article, but it was hard to get past the above. There was nothing even remotely reasonable about Mr. Romney’s intrusion of politics into crisis diplomacy.

    Demonstrations have been going on at the Cairo embassy for more than 24 hours. Those inside the embassy would obviously have been aware of this fact, and just as obviously would have been made aware of the fact that if the mob got out of control they could be in a very delicate position.

    Someone – we don’t seem to know who, but for all we know some junior flack – wrote a statement attempting to calm the situation. What precisely do you think they should have written instead? “We believe in absolute freedom of speech so fwck you and your prophet, too, come and get us?”

    In a bad situation, with crazy people outside the house baying for blood, it’s really okay to issue some mealy-mouthed “Hey, can’t we all just get along?” statement.

    And for this smirking jackass of yours to push himself into the middle of things while obviously the WH and State are racing to contain not one but two dangerous situations is simply unacceptable. It is amateur hour. It’s un-American.

    To double down on it and to simply lie, to just flat-out lie, again and again, parroting his programmed buzzwords, while we are retrieving the body of our murdered ambassador, while some of the names of the dead still can’t be released, while we try to make sense of the still dangerous situation in Cairo, goes beyond unacceptable. It’s disgusting behavior.

    Mitt Romney has no business running for president. He’s in over his head. He’s a clownish amateur who as your piece demonstrates hasn’t spent ten seconds thinking about foreign policy or his responsibilities as Commander in Chief of US forces.

    Shoot first, aim later is too diplomatic. Romney’s an ass.

  7. C. Clavin says:

    Of 24 FP advisors 17 worked for Bush…and were in the midst of some of the worst blunders in our history.
    That’s what Romneys FP will look like.
    Zoellich is wishful thinking on your part.
    And if I’m not mistaken he was part of the Project for a New American Century…the gang that couldn’t shoot straight.

  8. PJ says:

    Someone really is in denial about what a Romney presidency would bring….

  9. PD Shaw says:

    Romney is attacking Obama from the other direction. Or, rather, both directions

    In other words, there are Wilsonian foreign policies, and those that are Jacksonian, and Hamiltonian(*) and Jeffersonian. All, meticulously categorized by Walter Russel Mead.

    And then there is the Clintonian foreign policy, which is to attack the incumbent’s foreign policy as too weak and too firm at the same time, always keeping an eye towards satisfying the domestic audience on issues like Israel and trade. I voted for Clinton twice, but his campaign against George I on foreign policy was clearly cynical. Perhaps the cycle is returned, Clinton stood athwart the end of the Cold War and we stand athwart the end of the era began on 9/11, and we are again rudderless.

    (*) One would like to think Romney would be fairly Hamiltonian, but who knows?

  10. James Joyner says:

    @michael reynolds: FWIW, Romney’s reaction was the same as mine as of 8:30 Eastern last night, when I submitted the first draft of the article. The understanding that I had at that time—which is what I’m assuming the Romney attack was based on—is that the statement from the Embassy came in the aftermath of the attacks. Instead, as I learned this morning before I submitted my revised draft—also, naturally, updated to reflect the Benghazi tragedy—the memo preceded the attack. And, far from being administration policy, it was a desperate plea from the embassy.

    As a statement of US Government policy, I still find the Embassy statement outrageous. They have no right to opine on the speech of an American citizen. And, yes, fuck the zealots if they can’t take a joke.

    But, in the wake of the murder of the US Ambassador, Romney’s team should have backed out of political mode, issued the appropriate “we stand united with the President in condemning this outrageous attack on our fellow American” statement, and waited for the dust to settle before commenting. While there’s a lot I dislike about Obama as a policymaker, that seems to be his default instinct, and it’s a good one.

  11. john personna says:

    For James, Mitt is the Six Million Dollar Candidate. In the sense that “we can rebuild him, we can make him better than he was.” Of course you can’t really make him better, you can only dress him up in your mind.

    He’s still the guy press releasing at midnight, as he hears that a state department official has died.

    (Apologies for dated television.)

  12. I was pecking on my phone, slowly making this response as James typed this one.

    That’s very much worse James. First, in a moral sense because it does reject religious tolerance, but also in a pragmatic political sense.

    Explain to me how you run a foreign policy when you go all-in with Rev. Jones. Do you withdraw from Islamic countries? Or do you run every consulate as a siege fortress? Do you start machine gunning protesters?

    Because you know, if you stand by “f*ck the zealots” it will be a shooting defense.

  13. Clanton says:

    @michael reynolds: One question is how could these embassies been under attack for hours with no military response from the U.S.? Certainly there were bases and carriers close enough to get support in quicker than that. If not, something is wrong. What were the protection measures at these embassies? It seems that there was a totally inadequate number of guards and weapons that could have resisted an attack. There needs to be an investigation.

  14. The extreme right and the Islamic right have common cause that they want a hot, shooting war of values, right now. Mr. Obama and the moderates would like to play a longer game. The later is the only sane response.

    Why is Mr. Romney coy on Afghan withdrawal? Because if you go the Rev. Jones route you have to stay there, and keep killing them, until the accept the YouTube.

  15. @Clanton:

    The news is evolving, but this recent report says that the Libyan military and a friendly Libyan militia helped defend the consulate, but they were outgunned by the attack.

    What Happened in Benghazi Was a Battle

  16. Modulo Myself says:

    It’s amazing what kind of corner the far right nationalists have been pushed into since Obama became President. The guy is out there, basically a very smart version of George Bush I, while meanwhile, conservatives really can’t get over the fact that it’s not State Department policy to shout America F— Yeah in a volatile country where nobody likes Americans.

  17. michael reynolds says:

    James has a second related post: that includes a graf I find on-point:

    While I continue to deplore the notion that American citizens should stifle their speech in order to avoid inflaming violent extremists around the world, I nonetheless second President Obama’s sentiment here. Schwartz needs a refresher course in the First Amendment and closer supervision for a while before he should be allowed to issue statements in the name of my government. But, yeah, the circumstances ought afford him a little slack.

    That would be Joyner allowing facts to alter his initial impression – something Mr. Romney seems incapable of. Had Romney just gone of half-cocked this thing would be unfortunate for him. Instead he doubled down and defined himself as unready, to use that rather weaselly word, to be President.

    I would say he just lost the election but I think he’d probably already done that. Weird parallel to the McCain campaign. Both men committed absolutely unforced errors that revealed glaring holes in their judgment. McCain with the Palin choice and then the Lehman freak-out; Romney with the core decision to simply divorce himself from the truth, then the tax return debacle, the Olympic kerfuffle, the mismanaged convention, now this.

    Setting aside the policy issues, what the heck has happened to the professionalism of Republican campaign apparatchiks? Can’t anyone on that side run a campaign?

  18. @michael reynolds:

    There is still something deeply wrong there. The first amendment does not prevent any of us, or any of our leaders, from “condemning in the strongest terms” anything they want to.

  19. DRE says:

    @James Joyner:

    You beat me to this part which I was about to post:

    “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said in the statement. “It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”

    Talk about blame America first. If he had any right to be president his second line would have been something like this. “Americans may not always agree, but we stand together when attacked. The President can be assured that all Americans will stand together and we promise our support in dealing with this tragic situation.”

    The part you seem to be overlooking is that he is running for President, not just blogging and reporting on his first impressions from reading initial news reports. And even you waited till morning instead of posting your first draft. You seem to be getting close, but this should have pushed you say it. Romney has no business being President.

  20. michael reynolds says:

    @john personna:

    I’m a writer therefore almost by definition a First Amendment absolutist. Honestly I was squeamish when Bush 2 condemned the famous Danish cartoon because I don’t much like government opining on the fitness of media generally. In fact I think I had a blog at the time and re-published the cartoon.

    I also don’t like the effort by a large portion (at the very least) of the Muslim world forever denouncing any expression that runs counter to their dogma. Sorry, religious crazies of all stripes, we won’t tailor our media to your liking.

    I think:
    1) We have to stand up for the principle, even when it’s some idiot.
    2) I don’t like my government playing media critic.
    3) We have to make clear we won’t be intimidated out of letting our idiots express themselves freely.
    4) There were a bunch of crazy people outside the embassy and apparently no Egyptian troops in evidence, so I wasn’t upset by the statement.
    5) I approve of the fact that the statement was clarified into better diplomatese than this staffer happened to think of while presumably contemplating his own mortality and wishing he’d gone into advertising.

  21. Modulo Myself says:

    @michael reynolds:

    I agree with this, but the caveat is that maybe the Muslim does not grasp that this guy is a marginal idiot.

    I’m willing to bet that more than enough Egyptians honestly believe that this stupid movie represents something more a ten person contingent of Americans.

    I’d like to think that this is what the staffer was trying to express.

  22. DRE says:

    @michael reynolds: I think:
    1) We have to stand up for the principle, even when it’s some idiot.
    2) I don’t like my government playing media critic.
    3) We have to make clear we won’t be intimidated out of letting our idiots express themselves freely.

    While I tend to agree more with John Personna on this issue, it is one on which there can be debate and disagreemeent. The thing that I find offensive about Romney’s statement is that he chooses to elevate that debate to the level of the condemnation of the violence. He was right to say that he condemned the violence. He would have been fine saying that nothing justifies it, and that it certainly is not justified by some persons ranting. Instead he chose to include a strongly worded attack on what he percieved (wrongly) as a policy statement, as if it had some relavence to the issue of the violence, and thus did exactly what he thought he was faulting Obama for. Sending mixed messages and assigning blame to someone other than the perpetrators of violence.

  23. Argon says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Mitt Romney has no business running for president

    One might say that his business is running for President. The trouble is, like a dog forever chasing a car he has no idea what he’d do if he actually succeeded. Seriously, the dude was in perfect harmony with Palin today. That’s not a good sign of a clear thinker who thinks deeply about the business of being President.

  24. Spartacus says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “I think:
    1) We have to stand up for the principle, even when it’s some idiot.
    2) I don’t like my government playing media critic.”

    Are you taking a harder view against the statement out of the embassy because of the fact that the objectionable material was in the form of a work of art? I ask because it is neither new nor surprising that the government condemns conduct (including speech) that puts American lives at risk. Except for the fact that the Terry Jones material is in the form of a movie, I don’t see how this differs from a governmental request or criticism of a newspaper to withhold disclosure of, say, the name of a covert operative or a photograph of a tortured prisoner.

    In both cases there is an absolute right to publish the material, but that shouldn’t prevent the government from trying to persuade others not to publish it.

  25. Pylon says:

    Just as the idiot filmmaker has a First Amendment right, so do the individuals at the embassy. Therefore, I find no problem with their statement that implicitly criticized the film (for whatever motive). In fact, the statement, as criticism, was pretty mild.

  26. MattT says:

    Wandering off JJ’s original topic but since the discussion has turned to protected speech:

    It’s now being reported that the producer of the anti-Islamic film that sparked the violence may be a professedly Christian, career con man who initially claimed the film was the product of a sort of Jewish conspiracy, who conned a cast and crew who thought they were making a movie about Egypt in the time of Christ.

    He allegedly expected the film to lead to violence:

    Klein said he vowed to help Bacile make the movie but warned him that “you’re going to be the next Theo van Gogh.” Van Gogh was a Dutch filmmaker killed by a Muslim extremist in 2004 after making a film that was perceived as insulting to Islam.
    “We went into this knowing this was probably going to happen…”

    At what point does protected speech become criminal incitement?

  27. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    @michael reynolds: In response to your question:

    What precisely do you think they should have written instead? “We believe in absolute freedom of speech so fwck you and your prophet, too, come and get us?”

    I was going to say that I certainly hoped that Dr. Joiner would have more sense (and sensitivity) than that, but based on the direction of his comment, my guess would be “yes, that what they should say.”

    Alas, Dr. Joiner beat me to the punch and proved that he, too, is just a goon.

  28. CB says:

    definitely nailed it.

    im ambivalent about him, his personality, his domestic policies, his philosophy…

    but his foreign policy is what tells me that this guy should never. be. president.

  29. Ron Beasley says:

    The problem for James and Doug is they find it difficult to recognize is an unprincipled slime ball
    The man has no ideology except to make money and win. He will say anything even if it’s a bald face lie to get what he wants. And what he want’s now is to be POTUS. .

  30. Herb says:

    The net result is that no one really knows what a Romney foreign policy would look like. Increasingly, I’m not sure that even Romney knows.

    With warships heading towards Libya, Romney’s about to get a lesson from a pro.

  31. michael reynolds says:


    I am admittedly speaking from personal interest here. I don’t want government types commenting on or condemning books I write.

    To some other points though, there’s no free speech with this embassy publica affairs officer — he wasn’t a private citizen speaking, he was on the job. So his speech has to be seen in that light. As a private citizen I think he’s free to say whatever he likes. On embassy stationary (virtual) it’s a different matter. But again, as a scared guy trying to avoid himself and his co-workers getting killed, I agree with Mr. Obama that we cut a whole of slack for that.

  32. MarkedMan says:

    James, I am sincerely bemused by your attitude towards Romney. It seems to be entirely dedicated upon this premise: No one can be as bad as Romney repeatedly presents himself. Therefore it must be an act. And the reality has to be better than the act. Therefore I’m going to vote for him.

    You’re a smart guy and I have a lot of respect for your opinions, so help me out here. What, specifically, makes you think that Romney is better than indicated by the litany of self induced disasters?

  33. jukeboxgrad says:

    Senator Jim DeMint:

    It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims

    On the other hand, it’s perfectly fine to “condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of” another religion (link):

    He is a jerk. And he is taunting the American people, just as others are, in terms of Christianity. And I resent it. … He was seeking to create indignation. … Do not dishonor our Lord. I resent it and I think the vast majority of the American people do. … If we have sunk so low in this country as to tolerate and condone this sort of thing, then we become a part of it. … He deserved to be rebuked and ignored because he is not an artist. Anybody who would do such a despicable thing …

    Yes, this GOP Senator was complaining that Andres Serrano received NEA money, but that’s not all he was saying. He was also condemning Serrano as “a jerk” because he decided to “dishonor our Lord,” and this is something we should not “tolerate.”

    Pretty simple GOP rule: if you “dishonor our Lord,” it’s OK for a government official to condemn you. But if you dishonor someone else’s Lord, then it’s wrong for a government official to condemn you, because it’s “disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech.”

  34. superdestroyer says:

    Since Romney has no chance to win, why bother analyzing what foreign policy would be under a never-going-to-happen Romney Administration?

    I would not expect you to waste your time analyzing what foreign policy would be under Gary Johnson, Jill Stein, or Virgil Goode? Since Obama will easily be re-elected and since the Democrats will have control of foreign policy for the foreseeable future, why not try to concentrate for what the Democrats will do in the future? If the Democrats have no chance of losing the White House, how will foreign policy change? If Nancy Pelsoi returns as Speaker of the House, who will foreign policy change.

    There are many more interesting questions that discussing irrelevant Republicans. Such as: How will the changing demographics of the U.S. affect foreign policy? Will a country that is majority Hispanic still be interested in Israel or the Middle East? Will a country made up of mainly poor people really care about maintain international alliances? Will a country were all of the good jobs are concentrated in a few coastal cities have a different view of foreign policy when most of leadership has spent more time in Europe than in the Midwest or the South?

  35. Nikki says:

    @Pylon: My apologies, I clicked the wrong thumb.

    OT, I really hate the thumbs up/down system because it doesn’t allow one to correct a mistake.

  36. Nikki says:


    What, specifically, makes you think that Romney is better than indicated by the litany of self induced disasters?

    My guess is nothing except that Romney is not Obama.

    Did James ever answer OzarkHillbilly’s question?

  37. Moosebreath says:

    Samuel Johnson described second marriages as “the triumph of hope over experience”. Unfortunately, it seems the same applies to voting for Romney.

  38. stonetools says:

    Romney’s foreign policy:

    1. Warmed-over Reaganism, including Cold War xenophobia toward “Russia”.
    2.Add a dollop of “no-apology-for -Americanism”.
    3.Salt heavily throughout with opportunism.

    Simmer and serve.

  39. mattb says:


    To paraphrase the Joker, “Where do you get those wonderful quotes?”

    Seriously, do you have a file on hand for just such emergencies?

  40. stonetools says:


    You’re a smart guy and I have a lot of respect for your opinions, so help me out here. What, specifically, makes you think that Romney is better than indicated by the litany of self induced disasters?

    James Joyner is trying hard to resist the logical conclusion that he should vote for Obama over Romney on foreign policy grounds. Maybe he’s evolving. Hopefully, he’ll evolve by November 6.

  41. Up top I suggested that Mr. Romney wants a longer Afghan war. Here is his campaign statement:

    Gov. Romney indicated in an interview with ABC on July 29, 2012, that while he is supportive of President Barack Obama’s Sept 2014 troops withdrawal deadline, he disagrees with the plan to order 23,000 troops out of Afghanistan by Sept. 30. However, he admits that his position could change depending on the counsel of military commanders, while leaving open the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014 should conditions change.

    Call me a cynic, but I think “leaving open the possibility of keeping combat troops in Afghanistan beyond 2014” is much more than leaving open the possibility.

  42. jukeboxgrad says:


    do you have a file on hand for just such emergencies?

    Yes, a giant file called google! I googled piss christ, which took me straight to the wiki article, which reminded me that Jesse Helms complained about it. Then I googled piss christ helms, and one of the top links is the page I cited above. It took seconds. So any credit has to go to google, not me.

  43. Carson says:

    What we don’t need is a president going around to other countries and apologizing for the U.S. We also do not need a president who allows humiliation from Chinese leadership when they are guests at the White House.

  44. @Carson:

    Good thing that’s never happened.

  45. Andre Kenji says:

    @stonetools: Obama´s Foreign Policy is warmed-over Reaganism. Romney´s foreign policy is pandering to the Weekly Standard readers and editors.

  46. stonetools says:


    What we don’t need is a president going around to other countries and apologizing for the U.S.

    Well, its a good thing that the current President doesn’t do that.

    We also do not need a president who allows humiliation from Chinese leadership when they are guests at the White House.

    What you talkin’ bout, Willis?

  47. grumpy realist says:

    One good thing about Obama’s background: he at least has had experience of different cultures and knows that other people may not think the way that “Americans” do.

    With Romney, he’s probably convinced himself that everyone in the world thinks just like him. Watching the mutual admiration society of Ann and Mitt, the only term that comes to mind is solipsism galore.

  48. grumpy realist says:

    @Carson: How old are you? 14? We definitely do need a president who will apologize to other countries when we have done something wrong. There was a case back in the 1970s when the US apologized to Japan after shooting down one of their aircraft by accident. The apology included a very deep bow from the U.S. Ambassador at the time. It was the exact correct action to take at the time, was understood and appreciated by the Japanese, and went a long way towards repairing the damage.

    Or are you so immature that you think the US never has to apologize for anything and we can just bull our way through everything due to superior firepower?

  49. stonetools says:

    When you look at Carson’s post, you understand that the November choice is not between different candidates, different policies, or even different visions: its between different realities.
    If you go over to right wing blogs like Althouse, the overwhelming majority of posts take it for granted that the Obama Administration was cravenly apologizing to those murderous Muslims, until Romney bravely spoke up and inspired Obama to “grow a big stick” and stand up for America. In the last 24 hours, conservative media has created an alternate world when Romney is right and Obama is a weak non-leader whose bumbling led to the current crisis.

  50. JohnMcC says:

    @Andre Kenji: M Andre, if Barack were to follow the lead of Mr Reagon after the Benghazi consulate attack, he would evacuate all Americans from the city and send a few rounds of naval gunfire into random parts of the city as he left for good. That was the Reagan policy in Lebanon after the embassy was bombed.

    I think he’s already done far better than that. For one thing, he has vowed to bring the killers of amb Stevens and the three other Americans to “justice”. In a way that no recent President can, his promise probably should be taken seriously.

  51. swbarnes2 says:


    James Joyner is trying hard to resist the logical conclusion that he should vote for Obama over Romney on foreign policy grounds. Maybe he’s evolving. Hopefully, he’ll evolve by November 6.

    Don’t count on it. In the end, James will decide that what really matters is that Romney’s a good guy in his heart, because he’s a Republican. Policy isn’t relevent.

    As an example, James made such a huge deal about how we are only supposed to judge Romney by the fact that in his heart, he’s not a birther. Judging his actions by the effect they have (fanning the flames of racism) was apparently off-limits.

  52. Nikki says:

    @grumpy realist: It’s worse. He doesn’t care what anyone thinks unless they belong to his inner circle.

  53. Carson says:

    @stonetools: Chinese pianist plays@stonetools: Chinese pianist plays communist music at White House reception:
    Obama should have had the band strike up Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and played it full blast.

  54. Rob in CT says:

    Obama should have had the band strike up Lee Greenwood’s “God Bless the USA” and played it full blast.

    So you are 14.

  55. jukeboxgrad says:


    We also do not need a president who allows humiliation from Chinese leadership when they are guests at the White House

    If only President Romney had been sitting there. After hearing just a few notes he would have immediately known it was a song from an obscure movie made in 1956. After all, he’s so sharp regarding foreign policy issues that he doesn’t know the difference between a ‘consulate’ and an ’embassy.’

  56. MBunge says:

    1. There is some reason to think a President Romney’s economic and domestic policies might be somewhat better than what he’s currently blathering on the campaign trail. There is absolutely no such reason to think what he’s saying on foreign policy reflects anything except what he actually believes.

    2. Just to be clear. When foreigners kills Americans in another country, it’s okay to immediately dive in and use the incident to score political points. When an American kills other Americans in a Colorado movie theater, however, that’s off limits for politics?


  57. michael reynolds says:


    I don’t often down vote people, and never just for disagreeing with me. But seriously: shouldn’t you be in school? Down-voted for truancy.

  58. grumpy realist says:

    @Carson: You know, you’re starting to sound like a certain moustached person in history who kept babbling about “Jewish music” and “Jewish science.” Followed by another moustached person a little further east, who kept babbling on about “bourgeoisie music” and “bourgeoisie art.” Both individuals thought it just dandy to send groups of artists and musicians to gulags and worse places because of the art and music that they created.

    Just sayin’, you’re in some pretty creepy territory, historically.

  59. Barry says:

    @C. Clavin: this is the d*mning statement – if the man is hiring FP advisors from Bush’s reign of disaster, then the man’s foreign policy would be a disaster.

  60. bill says:

    what was obamas foreign policy approach 4 yrs ago? heck, he thought we had 57 states, what did he know about the rest of the world?

  61. bill says:

    @Pylon: when you become a spokesman for a country your “freedom of speech” must be approved- obama has been fighting the “apologist” label for years, and now it’s back. of course hillary apologized too so i guess it’s ok now. and obama forgot that egypt is actually an “ally”…..nice.

  62. An Interested Party says:

    …heck, he thought we had 57 states…

    You do realize the difference between actually believing something and misspeaking, right? No, of course you don’t…

    …obama has been fighting the “apologist” label for years…

    Only from right-wing loons like you…

  63. jukeboxgrad says:

    57 states

    That very tired story was addressed a long time ago. Snopes:

    He was trying to express the thought that in all the time he had spent on the campaign trail so far in 2007-08, he had visited all (48) of the states in the continental U.S. save for one (i.e., “one left to go,” excluding Alaska and Hawaii), but in his weariness he slipped up and started off with “fifty” instead of “forty.” (Note the long pause in the video clip between the words “fifty” and “seven.”)

    By the way, do you really think Obama doesn’t know how many states there are? Just curious. Because I’ve run into a bunch of conservatives who don’t believe that anyone could possibly think that.

  64. Mr. Replica says:

    Full speech is under Video Playlist. Around the 4:30 mark Romney insists that Obama is weak because he is NOT waging two wars at once.

  65. bill says:

    @An Interested Party: we pounce on politicians who “mis-speak”, here and everywhere- it’s a cottage industry to catch one doing so. of course we know what they said vs meant- but we love to see them embarrass themselves. no need to apologize for obama- he didn’t have his teleprompter up back then.