White House corrects Romney, says al Qaeda top US foe, not Russia

The White House took a swipe at Mitt Romney on Wednesday, two days after the GOP frontrunner took aim at Obama's policies with Russia and called that country the U.S.'s "No. 1 geopolitical foe."

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday, principal deputy press secretary Josh Earnest said al Qaeda takes that title.

ADVERTISEMENT
"You don't have to be a foreign policy expert to know that the greatest threat that the president has been fighting on behalf of the American people is the threat posed by al Qaeda," Earnest said. "There are also significant threats that are ... posed by nations like Iran and North Korea that have failed to live up to their ... international obligations when it comes to nuclear weapons.

"And the irony is that Russia, particularly in the cases of North Korea and Iran, has worked very well with the international community to isolate those two regimes and to seek a diplomatic solution to hold those two regimes accountable for living up to their international obligations," Earnest added.

During the briefing on Wednesday, Earnest also continued to explain Obama's unscripted remarks to Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and the attacks by some Republicans that he will be unchecked if he is reelected to a second term.

The White House spokesman said Obama's vision for a second term is rooted in trying to help the middle class.

"The president believes that we are at a make-or-break moment for the middle class and that we need to put in place the kinds of economic policies that will support an economy that ensure everybody gets a fair shot, everybody gets a fair shake and everybody does their fair share," he said. "That is the foundation of the president's vision for a second term. And that gives you a pretty good indication — should give the American people a pretty good indication -- about the direction that the president would go if he's elected to a second term by the American people."

Turning to the issue of missile defense, Earnest said Obama has advocated for and the United States is building a missile defense system in Europe that will ensure the safety of "our allies in Europe and, yes, ensure the safety of the United States."

"From the beginning that missile defense system has been oriented to address threats from Iran and other places," he said "It's not something that's been oriented toward Russia."