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Transition 2012

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

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Midday Update: Obama’s UN Address Aims for U.S. Voters

by Newsteam Staff
September 25, 2012

Photo of the Day: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 25, 2012. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: U.S. President Barack Obama addresses the 67th United Nations General Assembly at the U.N. headquarters in New York September 25, 2012. (Mike Segar/Courtesy Reuters)


President Obama addressed the UN General Assembly today, and although White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said it won’t be “a campaign speech,” (The Hill), it seemed to be aimed at a domestic audience as well as an international one.

Obama focused on issues like Libya and Iran – both of which have been significant campaign issues for him and he vowed to bring justice to the killers of Ambassador Chris Stevens and warned Iran that the time for diplomacy “is not unlimited,” (NYT).

Let me be clear: America wants to resolve this issue through diplomacy, and we believe that there is still time and space to do so. But that time is not unlimited. We respect the right of nations to access peaceful nuclear power, but one of the purposes of the United Nations is to see that we harness that power for peace. Make no mistake: a nuclear-armed Iran is not a challenge that can be contained.

Read the full transcript here.

This CFR Issue Tracker looks at both candidates’ stances on the United Nations.

In the lead-up to President Obama’s address to the United Nations General Assembly, GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan have continued to criticize him on foreign policy (NYT).

Both Romney and Ryan took issue with Obama’s characterization of the recent unrest in the Middle East as “bumps in the road,” (CNN).

Read what the candidates are proposing for on a number of major foreign policy topics in these CFR Issue Trackers.

Ryan criticized President Obama’s military policies at a campaign event in Ohio yesterday, drawing comparisons between this election and the 1980 campaign between Ronald Reagan and Jimmy Carter on defense and national security issues (NYT).

“I mean, turn on the TV and it reminds me of 1979 in Tehran,” Mr. Ryan, Mr. Romney’s vice presidential running mate, told a packed rally here. “They’re burning our flags in capitals all around the world. They’re storming our embassies. We’ve lost four of our diplomats, and what is the signal that our government is sending to the rest of the world?”

Ryan’s criticism also had a local, economic aspect, as he faulted Obama for plans to suspend production (CBS) at nation’s only tank manufacturing plant, located in Lima, Ohio.

Read more about the candidates’ positions on defense policy in this CFR Issue Tracker.

GOP Nominee Mitt Romney addressed the Clinton Global Initiative this morning, where he emphasized employment as a tool to quell political and social unrest (CBS).

“Work. That must be at the heart of our effort to help people build economies that can create jobs for people, young and old alike,” Romney said Tuesday at the Clinton Global Initiative conference in New York City. “Work builds self-esteem. It transforms minds from fantasy and fanaticism to reality and grounding. Work does not long tolerate corruption nor quietly endure the brazen theft by government of the product of hard-working men and women.”

President Obama is scheduled to address to Clinton Global Initiative later today.

Read Romney’s full remarks here.

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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