The Candidates and The World

Transition 2012

A guide to foreign policy and the 2012 U.S. presidential transition.

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Overnight Roundup: Romney’s Sharp Words on Russia

by Newsteam Staff
March 29, 2012

Photo of the Day: Supporters and opponents of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act at the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, March 28, 2012 (Jonathan Ernst/Courtesy Reuters).


GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney was chided from afar (Reuters) by Russian President Dmitry Medvedev for his repeated statement that Russia is the “number-one geopolitical foe” for the United States. In an op-ed for Foreign Policy, Romney again accused Russia of “obstructionism at the United Nations” on a whole raft of issues.

“Across the board, it has been a thorn in our side on questions vital to America’s national security,” Romney wrote, arguing it was “no accident” he was being attacked by the Kremlin.

The Romney-Medvedev dust-up was touched off after Romney remarked on reports of a private conversation between President Obama and Medvedev, in which Obama asked the Russian president for some “space” on missile defense until after the election when he would have more flexibility. In his op-ed, Romney said the exchange was alarming and placed Obama’s entire foreign policy in question.

A Bloomberg editorial argues no one should be shocked by the Obama-Medvedev conversation, nor should the controversy impact ballistic missile defense negotiations.

“Anyone who believes electoral politics don’t play a big role in driving foreign policy has been leading a very secluded life,” the editorial says. “Campaign-year outrage from Obama’s rivals over the remarks is probably inevitable, but it would also be disingenuous because we all know better. Besides, nuclear missile defense is a slow-burning fuse — talks can wait until after November without any consequence.”

In spite of recent positive economic news, U.S. voters continue to be worried about the economy more than anything else, a new Gallup poll shows. Out of fifteen issues currently facing the nation, the economy and gas prices lead the list — with 71 percent and 65 percent of voters, respectively — saying they personally worry “a great deal” about both. These are closely followed by federal spending and the budget deficit and the availability and affordability of healthcare, both at 60 percent. Toward the bottom of the list was the possibility of future terrorist attacks in the United States, with 35 percent saying they worry about it “a great deal” and 34 percent saying it concerns them “only a little/not at all.”

On the campaign train in Wisconsin, Rick Santorum said he is concerned about the ability of small business owners to stay in business and competitive under the new healthcare law (WXOW). He said some companies will reduce the size of their employees, if they’re a company that’s anywhere near fifty employees so they won’t have to comply with the law. “Others have said they will simply get out of business,” he said.

Arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court on the constitutionality of  Obama’s signature healthcare law drew to a close yesterday. UK’s Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Foster writes that it would be like detonating “a thermonuclear bomb under this autumn’s general election campaign” if the court strikes down the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that all Americans carry some form of health insurance or pay a penalty.

— Gayle S. Putrich, Contributing Editor

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