Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Russian President Vladimir Putin "has outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage" in an interview with NBC News on Friday.
The former Massachusetts governor said the U.S. and Russia were "geopolitical advisories," and Putin had bested President Obama in a number of disputes.
Romney said Putin had given Syrian President Bashar Assad "the cover that he needed" to win "a diplomatic battle," after Obama pushed for a military strike in response to chemical weapons use in the country's civil war. Instead, Assad agreed to turn over his chemical weapons stockpile to the international community in a deal brokered by Moscow.
"And I think most observers of the international political scene suggest that Russia has elevated itself in stature and America has been diminished," Romney said.
During the presidential campaign, the Obama team criticized Romney for describing Russia as “without question, our number-one geopolitical foe.” Vice President Biden joked that Romney "acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on."
At the White House Friday, press secretary Jay Carney said he "obviously disagree[d]" with Romney's analysis.
Carney said the president's "pragmatic approach in U.S.-Russia relations" had "served the interests of the United States," pointing to a recent short-term agreement to freeze Iran's nuclear weapons program and agreements to help provide supplies to trips in Afghanistan.
Carney also said he didn't expect Romney's comments to have a geopolitical impact.
"I think there are a lot of opinions expressed every day about U.S. policy ... I don't think that has a problematic impact," Carney said.