Fehrnstrom: Romney addressed troops, Afghanistan in American Legion speech

Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign, side-stepped questions Sunday on whether the GOP presidential candidate should have mentioned the troops or Afghanistan when accepting his party’s nomination last Thursday.

"He spoke to Afghanistan in a big speech to the American Legion the night before his convention speech," Fehrnstrom said on CNN's "State of the Union."

President Obama's campaign continued to attack Romney for failing to "talk about our troops or the war in Afghanistan" on Sunday -- something White House press secretary Jay Carney noted and Obama criticized this week on the campaign trail -- with senior Obama adviser David Plouffe hitting the issue on ABC’s "This Week."


Plouffe questioned whether a man who failed to address military issues in his Republican National Convention speech, an important address to a national audience, was ready to be Commander-in-Chief in 66 days.

But on CNN, Fehrnstrom would only say that Romney "accomplished what he set out to do" in his acceptance speech, calling it a "home run."

"The day before the convention speech, Candy, Gov. Romney traveled to Indianapolis on Wednesday and delivered a speech before the American Legion," he reminded CNN host Candy Crowley.

"Now that was an invitation that President Obama declined," he continued. "Gov. Romney thought it was a privileged to be speaking to people who have served so nobly. And in that speech he talked about Afghanistan. He also talked about 1 trillion dollars in defense cuts that are going to be taking place under this president, which his own defense secretary has said will be devastating to our national defense."

Conservative Weekly Standard editor William Kristol also criticized Romney for failing to mention the troops in his speech, writing on Friday that it provided an opening that Obama might exploit this week at the Democratic National Convention. But Fehrnstrom said Obama's campaign should be more concerned about what happens the day after the conclusion of the convention in Charlotte.

"I think the biggest news next week will be ... on Friday," Fehrnstrom said, referring to the August jobs report. "We're all hoping for good news, but the odds are high that the unemployment rate will remain above 8 percent, where it's been for almost the entire span of the Obama presidency."