Monday, September 3, 2012

Fehrnstrom: Romney Covered Afghanistan in Another Speech


I think something is seriously wrong with Eric Fehrnstrom, Mitt's senior adviser. Not only did he let his boss get upstaged by an empty chair on the most important night of his campaign, but he can't quite explain why Mitt avoided any mention of Afghanistan in his major speech at the Republican Convention.

Don't they realize how many young men and women are still in Afghanistan? Peopler are being hurt and maimed, mentally and physically, every single day. Don't they realize how many military families are involved in that effort? Stupidity doesn't even explain it - for instance, Sarah Palin mentioned the war and the veterans in nearly every speech she gave during the last election, and looking back that seems much more sensible than Romney's omission. I guess we have to assume he just didn't know what to say, so it's easier to slam China or Iran and talk about how Obama has "thrown Israel under the bus." Make up new threats to scare people instead of making them happy to have both Iraq and Afghanistan behind us.

Hey, Mitt - and you too, Eric - "Blessed are the peacemakers." Got that?

Here's the way Fehrnstrom explained it on CNN:
CROWLEY: Why didn't the president mention anything about there are troops as you know overseas still fighting in Afghanistan, but there was no mention of that in his speech. Was that deliberate, was it an oversight, what was that decision about?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, the day before the convention speech, Candy, Governor Romney traveled to Indianapolis on Wednesday and he gave a speech before the American Legion. Now that was an invitation that President Obama declined. Governor Romney thought it was a privilege to be speaking to people who had served so nobly. And in that speech, he talked about Afghanistan. He also talked about the $1 trillion in defense cuts that are going to be taking place under this president which his own defense secretary has said will be devastating to our national defense.

CROWLEY: Point taken. And I didn't mean the president, I meant the governor, He is your nominee, presidential nominee at this point. But it is not just the president and the Democrats, here is something that Bill Kristol, from the Weekly Standard, a conservative, a Republican, had to say, "what about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing to even mention in his acceptance speech, a war we're fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we've been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored in this kind of major and formal speech the war and our warriors? I doubt it. It has been since 1952, I read, where a Republican did not mention troops serving overseas."

Do you think it was an oversight -- in hindsight, should he have said something?

FEHRNSTROM: Well, again, he spoke to Afghanistan in a big speech before the American Legion the night before his convention speech, that was an invitation...

CROWLEY: Sure, but this is a huge, big audience.

FEHRNSTROM: President Obama declined. But Governor Romney's convention speech was an opportunity for him to introduce himself to millions of voters who were seeing him for the first time and in that speech he accomplished what he set to do, which is to talk about his better vision for America with more jobs and increasing wages, he talked about the failures of the Obama presidency over the last four years. And he talked a little bit about the personal side and what motivates him.

And we thought that speech was a home run.

Obama wondered why Romney would just overlook the role of President in the Afghan conflict:
"Gov. Romney had nothing to say about Afghanistan last week," Obama said at a campaign rally in Iowa on Saturday. "Didn't mention it. Didn't offer a plan in terms of how he might end the war or, if he's not going to end it, he's got to let people know."

Republican Bill Kristol blasted Romney in an Weekly Standard column:
What War?
The United States has some 68,000 troops fighting in Afghanistan. Over two thousand Americans have died in the more than ten years of that war, a war Mitt Romney has supported. Yet in his speech accepting his party's nomination to be commander in chief, Mitt Romney said not a word about the war in Afghanistan. Nor did he utter a word of appreciation to the troops fighting there, or to those who have fought there. Nor for that matter were there thanks for those who fought in Iraq, another conflict that went unmentioned.

Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney's silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week. What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we're fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it? Has it ever happened that we've been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?

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