By Jeremy Herb - 05/31/12 10:14 PM EDT
Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney gave President Obama an “F” grade on foreign policy Thursday, despite the killing of terrorist leader Osama bin Laden last year.
Romney said that he would give Obama an F grade “across the board” when the former Massachusetts governor was asked about Obama’s performance in office during an interview with CBS News.
“I’d look at the fact that he was looking to have a force of American troops staying in Iraq, securing what had been so hard won there, and with the Status of Forces agreement. He failed to achieve it,” Romney said.
“In the Middle East, the Arab spring has become the Arab Winter,” Romney continued. “That’s hardly a success. As I look around the world, I have to believe his positions in foreign policy have not communicated American strength and resolve.”
Romney concluded his answer by pivoting away from foreign policy and toward the economy, saying it was hard to call “39-40 months of unemployment above 8 percent a success when even he said that if we let him borrow $787 billion, his administration was convinced they would keep unemployment below 8 percent.”
“They said by now it would be in the 6 percent range, and by now it is not,” he said. “It's over 8.”
Despite Romney’s critique, the Obama campaign sees foreign policy and national security as a strength against Romney, a position Democrats typically don’t enjoy in presidential races. The president has several achievements to turn to, and he’s already campaigned on the bin Laden killing with a video questioning whether Romney would have made the same call.
Republicans accused Obama of "spiking the football" for the campaign video.
On Iraq, Romney’s criticism that Obama couldn’t leave any U.S. troops in Iraq is a frequent point of contention among hawks like Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). But Obama is also pointing to the troops leaving as fulfilling a campaign promise to end the Iraq War.
In reality, the Obama administration would have liked to have kept a small U.S. presence in Iraq, but it was the Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki who effectively killed any chance of that occurring when he refused to grant U.S. troops immunity from Iraqi courts.