(WASHINGTON) — Sen. John Kerry blasted presidential contender Mitt Romney on Tuesday for what the Massachusetts democrat says is a “phony set of phony propositions” for how to handle Iran.
“Mitt Romney evidently is trying to ignore, twist, and distort the administration’s policy, for what purpose? For his own gain,” Kerry said from the Senate floor. “Simply to try to drive a wedge in American politics. It seems to me that the strategy of his campaign is to just say anything, doesn’t matter what it’s based on, just say it, put it out there, whether it’s true or not.”
Kerry was responding to Romney’s op-ed in the Washington Post Tuesday morning on Iran in which the Republican says that as president he would “move America in a different direction” than President Obama has to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon.
In the op-ed, Romney called Obama America’s “most feckless president” since Jimmy Carter, comparing Carter’s handling of the Iranian hostage crisis in 1979 with Obama’s handling of Iran’s current nuclear threat. Like Ronald Reagan, Romney, if elected, will restore American might, continued the editorial, and “take every measure necessary to check the evil regime of the ayatollahs.”
As Obama did in his press conference Tuesday but without naming names, Kerry accused Romney directly of beating the drums of war, describing Romney’s attack on the administration’s Iran policy “as inaccurate as it was aggressive.”
“I don’t think we should allow Iran to become another party’s applause line on the presidential stump,” said Kerry. “Talk has consequences, particularly when it’s talk about war. And talk of war only helps Iran at this moment — and others — by increasing the price of Iranian crude oil that pays for its nuclear program. To create false differences with the president just to score political points does nothing to move Iran off a dangerous nuclear course.”
Kerry added, “Worst of all, Gov. Romney’s op-ed does not describe how a President Romney would do anything different than President Obama and this administration has already done.”
The Massachusetts senator said that the American people don’t want “candidates” but rather “statesmen” who can be “clear-eyed about what we have accomplished and what we have yet to do.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Euan McKirdy and Natalie L. Gallón, CNN
Ivana Kottasova and Armelle De Oliveira, CNN