By Meghashyam Mali - 10/22/12 11:03 AM EDT
President Obama’s campaign unveiled a new TV ad Monday touting the drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan and hitting GOP challenger Mitt Romney on foreign policy.
The new ad, titled “Rebuilding,” comes ahead of Monday’s third and final presidential debate, with the candidates slated to discuss foreign affairs, and with polls showing Obama and Romney locked in a tight race with just over two weeks until Election Day.
“A decade of war … That cost us dearly. And now, for president, a clear choice,” says the narrator as the ad opens, amid images of Obama meeting with service members.
The ad is the latest shot as both candidates look to establish their credentials on foreign policy.
Romney has criticized the administration's decision to hand over security to Afghans by 2014, arguing that the timeline has emboldened Taliban forces who are waiting out the U.S. drawdown. Romney has argued that the decision was politicized and that he would listen to the judgment of American commanders.
Romney’s campaign has also seized on the attack on the American Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which left four Americans dead, to argue that the administration has weakened the U.S. abroad and failed to acknowledge the dangers of the post-Arab Spring Middle East.
During last week's debate, Romney and Obama sparred over Libya, with the GOP nominee accusing Obama of waiting two weeks to peg the attack as a terrorist assault, a charge the president denied.
But Obama has regularly touted his decision to end the war in Iraq and move toward handing over responsibility for security operations to local forces in Afghanistan. Democrats believed those decisions, coupled with the president’s authorizing the mission to kill al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden, would give him an edge on national security, a traditional Republican stronghold.
A new Wall Street Journal/NBC News poll released Sunday showed Obama with a slim edge on handing foreign policy, with 44 percent of likely voters preferring the president, to 41 for Romney.
The Obama campaign has countered Romney’s criticisms with a number of Web and TV ads hitting the GOP rival as amateurish on foreign policy and highlighting his August trip to the U.K., Israel and Poland, where Romney met with controversy after criticizing London’s preparations for the Olympic Games.
A new Web ad released Sunday featured foreign-policy notables including former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who pegged Romney as not ready for “prime time” on foreign policy.
The Romney campaign, however, said that Obama had failed to fulfill his 2008 campaign promises on foreign policy.
“At the 2008 presidential debates, Candidate Obama promised to implement a foreign policy that would protect our interests and allies abroad. But four years later, America stands weakened around the world, with our safety threatened, our allies increasingly isolated and hostile nations emboldened. Americans simply can’t afford another four years like the last four years,” said Romney campaign spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a campaign release Monday.
“As president, Mitt Romney will deliver where President Obama has failed by crafting a foreign policy that restores America’s strength and increases our nation’s security abroad.”