It takes a lot for John Boehner to come to President Obama’s defence. But that’s exactly what happened Tuesday — in response to something Mitt Romney said, no less.Romney has continued his assault on Obama and his “hot mic” comments to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Monday, in which he told Medvedev that he would have more “flexibility” to address the issue of missile defence after the election.
On Tuesday, Romney’s attack came in the form of constantly berating Obama on the issue. There was a Twitter hashtag. And there was an interview on CNN Wednesday in which he called Russia the United States’ “No. 1 geopolitical foe.” On Wednesday, Romney’s attack comes in the form of an op-ed in Foreign Policy, which is entitled “Bowing to the Kremlin.”
Meanwhile, House Speaker Boehner rushed to Obama’s defence, saying it was unfair to criticise the president while he is overseas.
“Clearly while the president is overseas, he’s at a conference and while the president is overseas I think it’s appropriate that people not be critical of him or our country,” Boehner told reporters, according to MSNBC.
Not so fast. Boehner’s problem was more with the timing of Romney’s comments than anything. On Monday, Boehner tweeted that “when the president returns from S. Korea, we look forward to hearing what he meant by having ‘more flexibility’ on missile defence.”
But Romney is pressing on, the op-ed in Foreign Policy serving as the latest example of his criticism of Obama on the issue. In the op-ed, he blasted Obama for his record on Russia and used it as an excuse to attack his general approach to foreign policy.
It is not an accident that Mr. Medvedev is now busy attacking me. The Russians clearly prefer to do business with the current incumbent of the White House.
For three years, the sum total of President Obama’s policy toward Russia has been: “We give, Russia gets.”
Russian intransigence has elicited no push-back from the White House. Indeed, as the conversation in South Korea shows, President Obama appears determined to ingratiate himself with the Kremlin. This, unfortunately, seems to be the real meaning of his “reset” policy. An outstanding example is the personal phone call that Barack Obama made to Vladimir Putin from Air Force One congratulating the Russian leader on his election as Russia’s next president.
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