Obama’s smart-alec response to Romney on Russia comes back to bite

Then Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney got panned for a poorly delivered one-liner from President Barack Obama back in 2012, and now the joke appears to be on President Joe Biden.

In October 2012, Romney and Obama met for the third and final presidential debate of the election cycle. Bob Schieffer moderated the debate on CBS and foreign policy was the focus of the questions. Obama found an opportunity to squeeze in a prepared joke by prefacing, “I’m glad that you recognize that al Qaeda is a threat because a few months ago when you were asked what’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America you said Russia.”

“Not al Qaeda;” Obama emphasized, “you said Russia. And the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because you know the Cold War has been over for 20 years.” Obama then went on to suggest that Romney also wanted social policies of the 1950s and economic policies of the 1920s.

Now, only now, as Ukraine is faced with a potential invasion from Russia after already losing territory in the Donbas region after Luhansk and Donetsk have declared themselves independent republics and Biden is issuing sanctions that effectively do nothing, are liberals and the media willing to admit, maybe Mitt was right.

“This action by Putin further confirms that Mitt Romney was right,” Rep. Ted Lieu (D-CA) said Tuesday after the situation has escalated. This didn’t just happen overnight. Romney hadn’t been wrong for almost an entire decade only to be proven a prophet now.

This sequence of events can be traced back to March 2012 when Obama reportedly told then-Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility” after the election.

That flexibility led to Russia annexing Crimea in 2014 under Obama’s leadership. Romney even said in 2014, “Well, I think Putin has outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage.”

Of course, Obama wasn’t alone in his assertions and failures. Biden also critiqued Romney, treating him as a relic from the past.

“He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on,” Biden said before stating that they were working closely with Russia. Close and flexible. This is what came before four years of Russia collusion stories for President Donald Trump.

Perhaps the irony wouldn’t be biting so hard now if Biden had taken the time to listen to Madeleine Albright in 2019. President Bill Clinton’s secretary of state who had supported Obama in 2012 said even she underestimated Russia, ABC News reported at the time.

“I personally owe an apology to now-Senator Romney,” Albright said, “because I think that we underestimated what was going on in Russia. I was on the CIA external advisory board, there was no question that less money was being put into Russian language and what was going on in Russia.”

As long as we don’t see it, it didn’t happen, right? Sounds like flexibility.



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Kevin Haggerty


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