Pre-debate spin: John McCain bashes Obama’s foreign policy while Wesley Clark praises presidentby Andrew Abramson | October 22nd, 2012
By ANDREW ABRAMSON and DARA KAM
BOCA RATON – Hours before tonight’s foreign policy debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney, two leading Republicans on national security bashed Obama’s foreign policy while retired Gen. Wesley Clark defended the president.
“It would be a dramatic improvement over this feckless foreign policy which has caused us to lose influence and strength around the world,” said Sen. John McCain of Romney winning the election. “The latest debacle in Libya, Iraq is unraveling, al Qaeda is coming back all over the Middle East — those are facts that are undeniable.”
Clark, however, said Romney has no credibility when it comes to foreign policy.
“You have one man on stage who’s done it, proved it and done it well, and you have another who has no credibility and no experience in the field,” Clark said. “This is not about theory. This is about actual practice and experience.”
Congresswoman and DNC chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called the Romney/Ryan ticket one of the least experienced foreign policy tickets in history.
Clark said Obama “took us out of Iran and Iraq. He’s got a policy to get us out of Afghanistan. He took Osama bin Laden. He’s put the toughest sanctions ever in place on Iran. He’s made it perfectly clear Iran will not get a nuclear weapon.”
Political figures have begun to fill the spin room at Lynn University.
As reports surface that Obama is negotiating direct talks between the U.S. and Iran, Republican House Homeland Security Committee chairman Peter King said it would be a mistake to talk with Iran if Israel is not part of the discussions.
“Based on his past record, I wouldn’t have the confidence in President Obama when it comes to direct talks,” King said. “I’m not being critical of private talks if they are going on. I’m critical that it was leaked, and I’m also skeptical that the Israelis are not involved. I don’t know how we can have talks of peace in the Middle East involving Iran if Israel is not a player in those talks, or at least a partner.”
McCain, who lost to Obama in 2008, said U.S. relations with Israel “are probably at their lowest point ever.”
“Talks (with Iran) we want, but if they keep using them to delay while they continue their progress toward nuclear weapons; what we want to do is sit down with Israel, figure out the red lines, tell the Iranians and not everybody else what those red lines are and they can’t cross them,” McCain said.
But Clark said Obama and Israel are working well together.
“This administration is so tight with Israel,” Clark said. “There’s daily dialogue with Israel, every single day. So some of the stuff that’s come out of the press unfortunately shouldn’t have come out but it shows how close the collaboration has been working with Israel on the non-military measures taken against Iran.”