World Affairs Council Philadelphia/flickr
In the new Washington Post/ABC News poll, likely voters prefer President Obama over Mitt Romney on counter-terrorism by double digits, 51% to 40%. The same poll asked about international affairs in general, and the president's lead was even larger, 51% to 38%. The new CNN poll also showed a 12-point lead for Obama on foreign policy.
With this mind, BuzzFeed reports that the president and his re-election team are confident they have "a clear advantage" on these issues, which they intend to emphasize in the race's final two months.
The Romney campaign says it's unconcerned.
"It doesn't surprise me that they're raising foreign policy because it's another distraction from the Administration's terrible economic record," [Romney foreign policy advisor Robert O'Brien] told BuzzFeed. "They're going from one shiny object to the next." [...]
O'Brien conceded that the Bin Laden killing was great -- "yes he gave the order and the Navy SEALs carried it out" -- but said there was "not really another success story to point to." And, he cautioned not to underestimate Romney's foreign policy credentials.
"The Governor is an extraordinarily well-traveled businessman, he lived overseas as a young man, he speaks French, he understands the world and he's written extensively about foreign policy and national security," he continued. "The idea that he's this naive guy at 65 years old, given his experience heading the Olympic Winter Games and everything else, I just don't think that's going to play."
Let's flesh this out a bit, because it's a rather startling perspective. Indeed, each of these comments is worse than the last.
First, Romney occasionally forgets the nation is at war. For his foreign policy advisor, on 9/11, to call foreign policy a "distraction" is an unusually bad idea.
Second, for Team Romney to accuse others of "going from one shiny object to the next" is hilarious.
Third, it's true that Obama doesn't have other foreign policy successes outside the bin Laden mission, just so long as you overlook ending the war in Iraq, the ratification of the New START treaty, assembling an international coalition to bring down the Gadhafi regime in Libya, decimating al Qaeda's network and senior leadership, and imposing a very aggressive new embargo on Iran.
And finally, there's the Romney's campaign pitch: the Republican candidate has credibility on foreign affairs because he speaks French; spent time as a missionary; he's well-traveled; he's 65; and he helped oversee an athletic competition.