Bloomberg News

Biden Questions Republican Romney’s National Security Focus

May 06, 2012

Vice President Joe Biden said President Barack Obama has bolstered national security and suggested Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s approach would weaken the U.S. position in the world.

In an interview with NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Biden said he didn’t know if Romney would have given the go-ahead to the Navy Seal team that killed Osama bin Laden, though he “wouldn’t have gotten the same information,” because he wouldn’t have made targeting bin Laden as high a priority, Biden said.

Obama at the beginning of his presidency said “he would turn heaven and earth upside down” in order “to get bin Laden,” Biden said. Obama told Leon Panetta, then head of the Central Intelligence Agency, “I have one priority, the priority, find and get bin Laden,” Biden said on NBC.

Questioning Romney’s national security credentials has been an early theme in Democrat Obama’s re-election campaign, which officially opened yesterday with speeches in Columbus, Ohio and Richmond, Virginia.

A political ad the Obama campaign produced suggested that the former Republican governor of Massachusetts might not have given the order to kill bin Laden. On April 26, Biden said a “bumper sticker” slogan for the Obama campaign might be “Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive,” a reference to the auto bailout that Romney opposed.

‘Even Jimmy Carter’

Romney responded to the Obama campaign ad by saying the decision to go after bin Laden was an easy call that “even Jimmy Carter” would have made, a reference to the U.S. 39th president, a Democrat Republicans say struggled with foreign policy during his one term in office.

Biden also defended the administration’s economic record, saying the slowing of job growth in April doesn’t indicate the economy is stagnating. U.S. employers added 115,000 workers, the smallest gain in six months.

“There’s still a lot of people in trouble,” Biden said. “But there’s no stagnation.”

The administration’s economic policies have created a “steady path” for recovery that would be quicker had Republicans not blocked some stimulus proposals, Biden said.

Romney’s plan to cut taxes “for the very wealthy” would be a return to the policies of the George W. Bush administration, and force cuts in spending on education, infrastructure and Medicare and Medicaid, Biden said.

Biden also said Chinese activist Chen Guangcheng’s future “is in America.” China has said the blind Chinese activist could seek permission to study in the U.S.

“The Chinese have told us that if he files the papers” he would be “able to go abroad,” Biden said. “And we’re prepared to give a visa right away. He’s gonna be able to take his family. We expect the Chinese to stick to that commitment.”

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