Your morning jolt: Romney and Rove focus on Middle East

With a debate on domestic policy only two days away, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney has decided to put foreign policy front and center in today’s campaign.

A Wall Street Journal op-ed by Romney on the topic includes this:

The president began his term with the explicit policy of creating “daylight” between our two countries. He recently downgraded Israel from being our “closest ally” in the Middle East to being only “one of our closest allies.”

It’s a diplomatic message that will be received clearly by Israel and its adversaries alike. He dismissed Israel’s concerns about Iran as mere “noise” that he prefers to “block out.” And at a time when Israel needs America to stand with it, he declined to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One might be able to label the move an anomaly, except for the fact that Karl Rove’s American Crossroads is on the same track, releasing this TV ad that criticizes Obama’s response to the attack on a U.S. consulate in Libya that resulted in the death of the American ambassador and three other U.S. personnel:

Obama currently leads Romney among likely voters when it comes to foreign policy. Both Romney and Rove appear to be betting that the Libya story will stay alive for several weeks longer. According to today’s New York Times, that may not be a bad wager:

An effective response by newly trained Libyan security guards to a small bombing outside the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi in June may have led United States officials to underestimate the security threat to personnel there, according to counterterrorism and State Department officials, even as threat warnings grew in the weeks before the recent attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

***
On the polling front, a new ABC/Washington Post survey says President Barack Obama is expanding his post-convention lead over Republican Mitt Romney in crucial swing states:

Nationally, the race is unmoved from early September, with 49 percent of likely voters saying they would vote for Obama if the election were held today and 47 percent saying they would vote for Romney. Among all registered voters, Obama is up by a slim five percentage points, nearly identical to his margin in a poll two weeks ago.

But 52 percent of likely voters across swing states side with Obama and 41 percent with Romney in the new national poll, paralleling Obama’s advantages in recent Washington Post polls in Florida, Ohio and Virginia.

And the Gallup organization contributes this today:

More Americans believe middle-income earners would be better off in four years if President Barack Obama is re-elected than if Mitt Romney wins, by 53% to 43%. The public also says lower-income Americans would be better off under an Obama presidency, while, by an even larger margin, they say upper-income Americans would do better under Romney.

For those of you who believe a cabal of pollsters is attempting to pave Obama’s way to a second term, consider this from Jonathan Martin and Alexander Burns of Politico.com:

For the vast polling conspiracy of 2012 to be legitimate would be to presume that longtime GOP pollster Bill McInturff is on the deal. McInturff co-runs the respected Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll with veteran Democratic pollster Peter Hart.

McInturff is also business partners with Neil Newhouse, Romney’s own pollster. So, by this standard, Romney’s own campaign could also be part of the conspiracy to … hurt the Romney campaign.

***
U.S. Rep. John Barrow, D-Augusta, is out with a new TV ad today that highlights his independence. The most effective feature of the 30-second spot is the fact that Barrow uses names of voters, inviting Republican challenger Lee Anderson to fact-check if he likes:

The script:

Barrow: “I’m John Barrow. Some people like me. Some people don’t.

“Kemp Jones collects guns. He likes my ‘A’ rating with the NRA. Democrats in Washington don’t.

“Jimmy Johnson likes that I voted against the plan to privatize Medicare. Republicans in Washington don’t.

“Gail Webster like that I voted against the Wall Street Bailout. Both Parties were wrong on that one.

“I approved this message because folks in Washington don’t like me being independent, but you’re the one who counts.”

***
Walter Jones of Morris News Service has taken a look at Libertarian prospects in Georgia:

This year, the party has candidates in the only two statewide races, both for the Public Service Commission. In one, Libertarian David Staples is the only alternative to Republican incumbent Stan Wise.

In the other, the Libertarians have nominated an openly gay telecommunications consultant, Brad Ploeger, who is drawing new voters to the fold in his bid to best GOP Commissioner Chuck Eaton and Democrat Steve Oppenheimer. For different reasons, both contests offer hope to the Libertarian Party in Georgia, which normally only claims 2 percent to 4 percent of the vote.

***
The AJC’s Politifact Georgia today takes a look at the declaration by the National Women’s Law Center that “in every state, women are paid less than men.”

- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider

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23 comments Add your comment

RomeGaGuy

October 1st, 2012
9:57 am

Good ad by Barrow. Is Anderson doing anything other than ducking debates?

frank burns

October 1st, 2012
10:08 am

Romeny is striving to out-Bush Bush in terms of Middle East gunslinging, and now he goes off and says that Obama’s polices are about to “pull us into a conflict” there. Yeah, right. With Mitt it’ll be the Armageddon the rightwingers and fundamental religious seem to yearn for.

Hotlips Houlihan

October 1st, 2012
10:42 am

Oh Frank! Some people have extra sensory perception.

Auntie Christ

October 1st, 2012
10:48 am

What rove and the repubs don’t realize is by their constant, inane, hysterical rhetoric of, “Obama is gonna take away our guns,” “Obama is gonna establish socialism/fascism/communism (take your pick),” “the sky is falling!!” and similar insane predictions, the public has become indifferent to their demagoguery. Except among the rabid, right wing fox news crowd, republican hyperbole like that depicted in this ad, now just elicits a gaping yawn from the public because they have been hearing it for four years, Now it all just sounds like just so much chicken little, and seems just as silly. It is analogous to the people of whom we say, “their fifteen minutes are up.” Rove and the right wing’s “be afraid, be very afraid,” tactics have had their fifteen minutes, and people now just tune them out exactly as they do the used car salesmen in those commercials.

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
11:03 am

Auntie-

And exactly how is America better off today in the Muslim world than our country was four years ago?

Don’t tell me UBL being killed, good for the President, great for the SEALs. Terrorism is stronger and more wide spread than 4 years ago. Iran is four years closer to a nuke. No progress in Is/Plastine question. Fundamentalists have taken over in Egypt and other countries. Pakistan/U.S. relations are at an all time low.

And finally the “good” war according to Obama as just passed 2000 Americans killed and 52 by our “allies” just this year.

Yep, Obama as it all well in hand.

BTW, let’s not forget our first ambassador killed in decades.

No one I feel so much more secure (tongue in cheek)

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
11:04 am

that was ..no wonder I feel…

honested

October 1st, 2012
11:28 am

retired,

So you support the failed bush experiment of ‘privatizing’ consular security?

Doesn’t it make more sense to use our military to do the job of the military (protecting Americans at home and abroad) rather than viewing such protection as a ‘profit center’?

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
12:08 pm

honested-

Did you read the articles about the incident? Who was guarding the Ambassador? Two private contract former SEALs.

The question is why was the Ambassador at a location with so little security when according to the Administration a “army” of FBI agents can’t get there.

1. What did the Ambassador know, or not know and when did he know it?

2. What did the Administration know and when did they know it?

This smells like a huge cover up.

Auntie Christ

October 1st, 2012
12:17 pm

Retired Soldier
October 1st, 2012
11:03 am
You do well enumerating all the problems plaguing the middle east, and laying them all at Obama’s feet, as if the bolton/rove/bush-cheney junta had nothing to do with causing them. Now that you have enumerated them, what is YOUR solution? Invade every country in the middle east? nuke em? Go to isolationism? Is a criminal act, perpetrated by a group of insane religious zealots worth another protracted, treasure draining no-win war in the middle east? Is that waht you’re advocating?

Or maybe diplomacy? But we know if Obama goes that route, you and your right wing brethren immediately yell “APPEASMENT!!” Or are you going to advocate for cowboy diplomacy ala the bolton/rove/bush-cheney junta, where ‘tough talk’ is supposed to bring about solutions to the aforementioned problems, when everyone in the world except the wingers know it is just so much posturing? Maybe we should bring back the color code, will you feel safer if we tell you we are at code orange today? Your right wing buddies established an entire bureaucracy, spending a few billion in the process, and all we got for it was color codes. I hope you felt safer, I didn’t.

Please tell us the solution, inquiring minds want to know.

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
12:32 pm

Auntie-

What’s my point, things are worse not better under Obama, so much for the Cairo speech. Glad you asked what I would do.

1. Immediately withdraw from Afghanstan, we don’t intend to win, get the hell out.

2. Have a real energy policy, i.e. approve the pipeline, approve new drilling, approve more nuke enerfy, etc so we don’t buy a barrell of oil outside North America.

3. End aid to Egypt.

4. Reassure Israel that they are our closest ally and mean it.

5. Give a deadline to Iran to allow full inspection or suffer the consequences and mean it.

6. Have detailed Congressional hearing into the failures in Libya.

7. Send military aid the the rebels in Syria.

8. End military assistance to Pakistan until they act like a responsible world player with nuclear weapons.

9. Remind all nations they are responsible for terrorist acts that orginate from their country.

How is that for a start?

WOW

October 1st, 2012
1:00 pm

Retired Soldier:

Quite an interesting list, too bad Romney hasn’t been that specific on any foreign policy proposals. Maybe his campaign should hire you.

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
1:11 pm

WOW-

I am available, just call BR549 and I’ll be happy to assist.

Mike

October 1st, 2012
1:36 pm

[U]pper-income Americans would do better under Romney.

Yes, they would. And there would be more of them.

Auntie Christ

October 1st, 2012
1:44 pm

1. Immediately withdraw from Afghanstan, we don’t intend to win, get the hell out.

We abruptly did that once before,leaving when the russians were defeated, and left the country rudderless and wide open for the taliban to take over. As they say, those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it. As for ‘winning,’ that is an elusive concept. It was in Viet Nam, Korea, Iraq and now Afghanistan. Losing however is a very real concept if we pull out before there is some degree of stability, and a modicum of a trained Afghan military.

2. Have a real energy policy, The oil companies dictate our energy policy thru the senators and reps they own. Until Washington gets serious about developing alternatives to oil, this will always be so. Pipelines, new wells et al matter not at all, the oil companies own the product and will sell it on the world market. Unless you advocate we nationalize the oil production, there is no solution other than alternative energy.

5. Give a deadline to Iran to allow full inspection or suffer the consequences and mean it.

So we should withdraw from Afghanistan, but you see nothing wrong with invading another country to start a protracted unwinnable war. Nothing like that, to turn every Iranian everywhere against us and open ourselves to more terrorist attacks. The people of Iran are fed up with the crazies in leadership there and will eventually oust them. That is where our covert efforts should be directed.

6. Have detailed Congressional hearing into the failures in Libya.

Nothing like giving darrell issa and the repubs a platform for more Obama bashing, and accomplishing exactly nothing.

7. Send military aid the the rebels in Syria.

Right, and recreate the same scenario we have in Egypt and Libya today, Replace a corrupt, murderous regime with a group of corrupt murderous fundamentalists. Not much of a solution as I see it.

8. End military assistance to Pakistan until they act like a responsible world player with nuclear weapons.

Of course, why didn’t anyone think of that before. Just remind them they need to be more responsible, that’ll do it. You want to abandon Afghanistan and allow the situation that arose before to repeat itself, while at the same time alienate a country we need as a staging area to combat the inevitable resurgence of the taliban. These are mutually destructive events that you are advocating.

gsueagle

October 1st, 2012
2:11 pm

anderson is scared to debate

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
2:19 pm

Auntie-

1. I see the liberals are the warmongers now, the worm has turned.

2. Wrong, produce any and all energy that can be produced today, get us off mid-east oil and then have industry continue to research alternatives. Glad to see you support the oil cartel in the middle east. The worm has turned again.

3 & 4 Guess you agree.

5. Did I say invade? Absolutely not. A blockade and air attacks and supplying and equiping the opposition should work just fine.

6. Didn’t say the House, I said Congress. Guess you don’t trust the Dem. senate.

7. That means you support the current corrupt and horrorfic status quo. It used to be republicans that supported dictators ( see central America). The worm has turned again.

8. See 7 above, the final worm. I do believe the liberal Dems have taken up the neo-con battle flag. Now that is a whole host of worms turning.

honested

October 1st, 2012
3:18 pm

retired,

Your lack of depth on middle eastern policy is only overshadowed by your lack of comprehension of energy policy.

I’m glad the American Public is awakening to the danger of putting narrow-minded people in charge of important international issues…….

And, of course, you folks take to blaming the media and the pollsters for the preferences of a better educated electorate.

Retired Soldier

October 1st, 2012
3:53 pm

honestead-

Who is the blowhard here? Have you been to the middle east? I have. I also hold an advance degree and have taught International relations at the college level.

You want to show how smart you are? Refute what I say with facts, instead of shotgun blast of BS.

Ok I am going to bite on one of your statements, that the “better educated” will vote for Obama, or so you imply. Let’s tru a little PS101, what educational levels vote for what party? Answer is?

You are correct, we have narrow minds in charge now, I hope that will change in November.

Auntie Christ

October 1st, 2012
6:13 pm

Retired Soldier
October 1st, 2012
2:19

1. I see the liberals are the warmongers now, the worm has turned.

Then by the same token, your position of withdrawal makes you an America hating appeaser who doesn’t support our troops

2. Wrong, produce any and all energy that can be produced today, get us off mid-east oil and then have industry continue to research alternatives. Glad to see you support the oil cartel in the middle east. The worm has turned again.

So you are going to force the oil companies to keep the oil they drill and refine in America right here. What are you an anti-business socialist, dictating to the free enterprise system how and what they can sell? The worm has turned indeed!

5. Did I say invade? Absolutely not. A blockade and air attacks and supplying and equiping the opposition should work just fine.

So I said ‘invade’ when you meant acts of war. Excuse me. Either way the consequences of what your proposal will be the same as I outlined

6. Didn’t say the House, I said Congress. Guess you don’t trust the Dem. senate.

House or senate makes no difference. It would be an occasion for repub posturing and grandstanding.

7. That means you support the current corrupt and horrorfic status quo. It used to be republicans that supported dictators ( see central America). The worm has turned again.

No, I’m happy that the syrian people are dethroning a dictator, and I can’t wait for the aftermath where hannity limbaugh, you,and others like youl criticize Obama for “letting” the Muslim brotherhood be elected to leadership.

I don’t know about any worms turning,I only know about the worms leading the republican party.

cc

October 1st, 2012
7:07 pm

Retired Soldier@3:53 pm:

Nice try, but dishonested isn’t worth the effort.

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Retired Soldier

October 2nd, 2012
9:20 am

Auntie-

1. I hate the troops, that’s all you have? I love my fellow brothers in arms, that is why I advocate immediate withdrawal. 12 years isn’t long enough for you?

2. I didn’t say the oil had to stay here now did I. My how you jump to so many conclusions.

5. If you think a blockade, draconian sanctions and an air war provides the same results as a land war in Iran, then thank goodness you aren’t a political or military leader.

6. And of course democrats in Congress don’t grandstand. I guess liberal Dems now believe in an imperial presidency and no congressional oversight. Will that position hold when a republican is elected president? Another turned worm.

7. Now the real truth has come out. Liberal Dems don’t believe in, little d, the democratic beliefs of this country, they what to have a religious state patterned after the Muslim Brotherhood with an all powerful president and a weak Congress. Got it.

Oil is a commodity

October 2nd, 2012
11:46 am

Oil is a commodity. Oil companies have no desire to produce anymore than they do now. Why would they want to lower the price of their product and thus their profits? There is no shortage of oil, we export oil. What the oil companies want is to continue to receive subsidies and not pay their royalties.