CHICAGO -- Vice President Joe Biden issued the following statement in response to Mitt Romney’s remarks to the VFW National Convention today:
“Over the past three years, President Obama has taken the fight directly to America’s enemies, confronting al-Qaeda head on and taking out Osama bin Laden. He ended the war in Iraq responsibly and has a plan to do the same in Afghanistan. He has done more for Israel’s security than any President since Harry Truman, led international efforts to put the most pressure in history on Iran, protected the people of Libya from a brutal dictator and helped rebuild our alliances across the globe. He saved our economy from collapse with bold decisions, including the rescue of the automobile industry – which has made us stronger abroad. Because of President Obama’s leadership, Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive.
“Today, Governor Romney had an opportunity to fulfill a long-standing promise by laying out his foreign policy vision and agenda. He had a chance to say how he would lead as Commander-in-Chief. Instead, all we heard from Governor Romney was empty rhetoric and bluster. He reflexively criticizes the President’s policies without offering any alternatives. When he does venture a position, it’s a safe bet that he previously took exactly the opposite position and will probably change his mind again and land in the wrong place – far out of the mainstream. Or he mischaracterizes our record to create a non-existent contrast.
“Governor Romney supported the President’s timeline to end the war in Afghanistan, then he opposed it and now it is hard to know where he stands. His misguided criticism of the President’s new defense strategy is undermined by the fact that strategy was designed with and supported by the entire Defense Department senior leadership, uniform and civilian. It provides for a more agile, flexible force, better able to confront aggressors and project power, with strong partnerships to share the burden and smart investments in cutting edge capabilities. We proposed a budget to fully fund that strategy and keep faith with our veterans.
“When it comes to Russia – which he recently called “our number one geo-political foe” – Governor Romney remains mired in a Cold War mindset. We have serious disagreements with Moscow, but our cooperation has made the American people more secure. Russia cancelled the sale of cutting edge radar to Iran and joined us in imposing the toughest sanctions in history on Tehran. Together, we negotiated a major nuclear arms reduction treaty – New START – that virtually the entire Republican foreign policy establishment supported but Governor Romney and a very small group of Cold War holdovers opposed.
On Poland and missile defense:
“On the eve of his trip to Poland, the Governor is either profoundly misinformed – or misinforming the American people. He asserts that the President abandoned a missile defense system in that country. President Obama asked me to secure Allied support for a new missile defense plan for Europe. Who did we ask to host its main components? Poland, along with Turkey, Romania, Germany and Spain. These countries and all of NATO embraced our approach because it protects more of Europe more quickly than the old plan.
“Governor Romney continues his long litany of untruths about our administration’s policies toward Israel. We’ve provided record levels of security assistance, funding for the Iron Dome missile defense system that intercepted nearly 80 percent of the rockets recently fired from Gaza, close collaboration on longer range missile defense systems, the largest joint military exercises in history, the most consistent and comprehensive exchanges ever between our top political, defense, security and intelligence officials. And, contrary to Governor Romney’s outrageous accusation that the President joined in the chorus of insults levied against Israel at the United Nations, President Obama has stood up repeatedly, publicly and often alone against efforts to delegitimize Israel at the U.N. and around the world.
“On Iran, Governor Romney does a compelling job laying out exactly what the Administration is already doing. The only step he seems to think we should take that we are not already taking is to launch a war. If that is what the Governor is for, he should tell the American people.
On al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden:
“One thing the Governor did not talk about today was al-Qaeda and Osama bin Laden. That’s not surprising. When he last ran for President, Governor Romney was asked what he would do about bin Laden. He said then: ‘it is not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.’ We know how Obama answered that question: by ordering our intelligence services to leave no stone unturned in the hunt for bin Laden, and then authorizing one of the highest risk missions ever to capture or kill our number one enemy.
“Thanks to President Obama’s leadership, bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive -- and everything we have learned from Governor Romney today and during this campaign tells the American people that a Romney presidency would have resulted in just the opposite.”