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Transition 2012

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

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Midday Update: Ryan Criticizes Obama on Afghanistan

by Newsteam Staff
October 2, 2012

Photo of the Day: Audience members arrive for a campaign rally with GOP nominee Mitt Romney in Denver October 1, 2012. (Brian Snyder /Courtesy Reuters) Photo of the Day: Audience members arrive for a campaign rally with GOP nominee Mitt Romney in Denver October 1, 2012. (Brian Snyder /Courtesy Reuters)

GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan yesterday criticized President Obama’s handling of the troop drawdown from Afghanistan (ABC), saying that the decision went against the advice of commanders on the ground and was done before the election for political benefit. ABC News reports:

The GOP vice presidential candidate told Laura Ingraham on her radio show that a Romney administration “would listen to our commanders on the ground when they recommend that we don’t pull our troops during a fighting season.”

“They just pulled about 22,000 troops in September, which to me is a political decision to have a draw down before the election, but we’re still giving our soldiers the same mission, the same counter-insurgency mission, but we’re sending fewer people out to do the same job,” Ryan said.

Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona also criticized Obama’s Afghanistan policy, saying, “All the president has done is announce withdrawals” (The Hill).

Both Ryan and GOP nominee Mitt Romney have said that they support Obama’s decision to pull the troops out by 2012, they just don’t support the public announcement of the date.

This CFR Issue Tracker details both candidates’ stances on Afghanistan.


President Obama has asked defense contractors not to issue layoff notices (ABC) to workers whose jobs may be affected by the automatic budget cuts that will begin in January if no budget deal is reached. Republicans have called the move political and election-related.

“Contractors had been planning to send out notices because of the WARN Act–Worker Adjustment and Retraining Notification Act–which according to the Department of Labor requires ‘most employers with 100 or more employees to provide notification 60 calendar days in advance of plant closings and mass layoffs,’” ABC News reports.

A memorandum on the topic was initially sent to employers in July and said that the government will bear the financial cost (FoxNews) of any fallout relating to not issuing the notices in a timely manner.

So far, Lockheed Martin, which employs thousands of people in the swing state of Virginia, has announced that it will not issue the layoff notices.

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


GOP nominee Mitt Romney is broadening his campaign focus to more than just the economy, reports The New York Times.

“Aides stress that Mr. Romney will continue to press the economic case against the president. But rather than focusing on Mr. Obama, they plan to stress that voters need to make a choice between two men with different visions of the world. In the briefing with reporters on Monday, aides used the word ‘choice’ more than a dozen times,” write Michael D. Shear and Ashley Parker for the Times.

While he had initially wanted the election to be a referendum on President Obama’s handling of the economic recovery, Romney has recently been criticizing Obama a number of other policy issues as well.

“Romney’s focus on foreign policy is intended to send a message to voters that they can trust the Republican on foreign policy despite limited experience. To that end, Romney’s advisers said he’s planning a major foreign policy speech, to be delivered sometime after Wednesday’s debate,” the Associated Press reports.

Pressed to give more specifics on a number of his positions, Romney has also announced that if elected, he will not revoke the temporary visas that have been given to undocumented immigrants who were brought here as children because he doesn’t want to “take something that they’ve purchased” (DenverPost).

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

–Contributing Editor Kirsti Itameri

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