For The First Time In Nearly 50 Years, Americans Trust The Democratic Candidate On National Security

Barack Obama


President Obama marked the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2011 terrorist attacks this morning at the White House, pausing for a moment of silence before delivering remarks at the Pentagon, where 184 people were killed in the attacks.”Most of the Americans we lost that day had never considered the possibility that a small band of terrorists halfway around the world could do us such harm,” the president said.

“Most had never heard the name al Qaeda. And yet, it’s because of their sacrifice that we’ve come together and dealt a crippling blow to the organisation that brought evil to our shores. Al Qaeda’s leadership has been devastated and Osama bin Laden will never threaten us again. Our country is safer and our people are resilient.”

Obama spoke with the aggressiveness that has come to define his approach to foreign policy and national security. It’s that approach that gives Obama a clear advantage on foreign policy and national security issues heading into this election, the first time a Democratic candidate has had a strength in the area in a long time.

A new ABC/Washington Post poll found that Obama holds an 11-point lead over Republican Mitt Romney on handling terrorism-related issues. On handling international affairs, Obama has a 13-point lead. In a CNN poll released yesterday, he held a 12-point lead on handling foreign affairs.

This is new territory for a Democratic candidate. In 2004, George W. Bush used a huge national security advantage to win re-election. President Bill Clinton used other issues to win two terms in office after Republicans painted him as a draft dodger in 1992. During Jimmy Carter’s presidency, the Iranian hostage crisis led to the perception that he was soft on foreign affairs.

Not since Lyndon B. Johnson unveiled this famous “Daisy” ad to help sink Republican Barry Goldwater in 1964 has a Democrat had such a distinct foreign policy advantage.

And it’s an edge that Obama will continue to employ heading into the final two months of the campaign. 

Last week in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention, Obama chided Romney for not mentioning the war in Afghanistan during his speech to the Republican National Convention the week before.

“My opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy, but from all that we’ve seen and heard, they want to take us back to an era of blustering and blundering that cost America so dearly,” Obama said of Romney and Paul Ryan.

“My opponent said that it was ‘tragic’ to end the war in Iraq.  And he won’t tell us how he’ll end the war in Afghanistan.”

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