President Obama has not developed a "clear and convincing foreign policy," former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney (R) charged Monday evening.
Romney, one of the top-tier Republican candidates eyeing a challenge to Obama in 2012, said he supported the U.S. military offensive against Libya, but jabbed at the president, saying he lacks any overarching foreign policy.
"But let me also note that thus far, the president has been unable to construct a foreign policy, any foreign policy," Romney added. "I think it’s fair to ask, you know, what is it that explains the absence of any discernible foreign policy from the president of the United States?"
Romney said Obama waited too long to become involved in Libya and accused him of deferring to international bodies the Arab League and United Nations to guide U.S. involvement in Libya.
"We’re following the French into Libya," he said. "I appreciate the fact that others are participating in this effort, but I think we look to America to be the leader of the world.
The former Massachusetts governor's criticism echoes other critics from both the right and when the left, who contend the administration hasn't laid out any clear metric for determining the U.S. military will become involved in foreign conflicts, and when it won't.
Romney and other would-be 2012 contenders have had mixed reactions to U.S. involvement in Libya, and have struggled to balance between distinguishing themselves from the Democratic president without appearing too critical.
Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty (R) said Monday night he was supportive of Obama's decision, but noted that he would have called much earlier for a no-fly zone in Libya.
"We have one president and one commander-in-chief at a time, and in these early hours and these early days, when we have the lives of men and women in our armed forces at risk, we want to make sure that we're as supportive as we can be," Pawlenty said on Fox News.
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich was much more critical, calling Obama's response "amateurish."
Mississippi Gov. Haley Barbour also passed on criticizing Obama, and most other potential 2012 contenders have been silent.
The issue of decisiveness has been key to 2012 Republicans' criticism of Obama's handling of Libya. Former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin didn't criticize the president's decision while traveling abroad last weekend in India, but she said the president could have been more decisive.
Here is partial audio of the Romney interview, posted by his political action committee: