100th Town Hall: Romney Queried on Plans for Afghanistan
Mitt Romney, who attended his 100th town-hall meeting on Monday with Paul Ryan (so much for Romney being out of touch with ordinary Americans) was queried about his plans for Afghanistan if he is elected. A veteran stated that his son was leaving soon to fight there, and wanted to know what Romney’s plans were: "Our guys are coming home in body bags. You guys take over in Washington, what are you going to do about this damn mess in Afghanistan?"
Romney answered : “I expect the president of the United States to address the nation on a regular basis … (I will ) address the American people about these issues.” He then stated he would “do everything within my power to transition from our military to their military as soon as possible.” Ryan added that Barack Obama had made "decisions that are more political in nature" when he considered military options and ripped the Democrats for proposing lower spending rates on defense, claiming that Congress should "give [the military] what they ask for."
Obama’s surrogates carped that Romney was not specific enough. Obama spokeswoman Lis Smith sniffed:
Mitt Romney’s response was that he’d address the American public more often if elected. That’s simply not enough from someone running to be Commander-in-Chief. The truth is that Romney has refused to put forth a plan for what he would do in Afghanistan. If he does have some secret plan, he owes it to our men and women in uniform to tell them. The President has repeatedly outlined a specific plan for how we are going to bring our troops home responsibly and end the war by the end of 2014, including during a trip he made to Afghanistan in May.
Notice the verbiage here; Smith alleges that Romney may have a secret plan, making him sound conspiratorial.
Romney’s campaign immediately took Smith down, saying:
If we did have a so-called ‘secret plan,’ the Obama Administration would just leak it. Gov. Romney has described his strategy to ensure a successful transition in Afghanistan, one that rejects President Obama's practice of ignoring military commanders' advice and making decisions based on politics.
They also noted that, unlike Obama, Romney opposed announcing a withdrawal date for surge forces during the surge rollout, and opposes negotiations with the Taliban.
In the end, the salient moment of the meeting came when Romney, a huge Boston Red Sox fan, repeated a joke he had told cadets from the Citadel in which the punchline was, “We all hate Yankees.” Ryan, seeing a man wearing a New York Yankees shirt, interjected, “but not you.” But the Yankee fan smiled and spoke like a true Yankee fan:
"I back winners and that's why I'm backing you.”