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Rice says Romney would 'lead from in front' as president

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice criticized President Obama's leadership on foreign policy Wednesday and said Mitt Romney would "lead from in front" in the White House. 

"A President Romney, I think, would understand American exceptionalism, would not be afraid to lead from in front, because the United States has to send strong signals to our friends and to our adversaries that we know where we think the international system ought to be going," Rice said on CBS's "This Morning."

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Republicans have repeatedly derided Obama for "leading from behind" on foreign-policy issues ranging from the intervention in Syria to Iran's nuclear program.

Rice is set to speak Wednesday night at the Republican convention ahead of vice presidential nominee Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).

She said she plans to talk about the "importance of America to the world" and the need for a "clear message" from the United States.

"What we should do tonight is talk about what a President Romney would mean for America. It's not a time to look back, it's a time to look forward," she said.

The former secretary of State took issue with Obama's international leadership, saying "there is no doubt that the United States's voice has been muted."

"When the United States' voice is muted, the world is a more dangerous place .. Just look at the situation in Syria, for instance. We have a circumstance in which [‪Syrian President Bashar] ‬Assad is butchering his people, the Iranians are helping him to do so, the United States seems to be mired in the Security Council, the Russians and the Chinese say, 'No, no', no,' and we don't seem to have an answer," she said.

Rice denied that her criticism of Obama is an endorsement of sending American troops to Syria. However, she said that U.S. credibility is at stake when Obama says, "Assad must go" and the Syrian leader remains in power. She called for working to arm the opposition in Syria and creating a "strong and clear" political plan for a post-Assad Syria.

When pressed on whether she would take on a role in a Romney administration, Rice said, "That's a no, I'm a very happy professor at Stanford."

The former national security adviser and secretary of State in the Bush White House has repeatedly denied an interest in politics.