(SIOUX CITY, Iowa) – Mitt Romney today responded to criticism over his failure to mention Afghanistan during his speech at last week’s Republican National Convention and also President Obama’s suggestion that he “might not be ready for diplomacy” overseas.
“I actually talked about our military and our commitment to our military and the fact that our president has actually proposed and is going to oversee a dramatic cut back on our military,” said Romney during a press conference held on the tarmac in Iowa moments after landing. Romney will hold a rally there this afternoon, his first public campaign event since Saturday.
“We learned from the Woodward book or excerpts from it that apparently the idea of the sequestration and cutting our military actually came from the White House,” Romney said, turning the blame back on the president in a reference to the Bob Woodward’s book The Price of Politics, due out next week.
“My speech talked about maintaining our commitment to the military and as you know I took time out of our convention to go to the American Legion to speak to our veterans and speak about our commitment in Afghanistan and elsewhere. The president didn’t have time to apparently go to the American Legion as I did,” said Romney, who traveled to Indianapolis to deliver his remarks in person on the eve of his convention speech, while President Obama spoke via satellite.
Romney was also asked about President Obama’s remark last night that he “might not be ready for diplomacy with Beijing if you can’t visit the Olympics without insulting our closest ally,” a reference to the Republican candidate’s comment ahead of the London Summer Olympics in which he cast doubt on the success of the games.
“It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out,” Romney said at the time. “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials…that obviously is not something which is encouraging.”
Romney later dialed back his remarks and said he was “absolutely convinced” the event would succeed.
Today Romney hit back at the president’s dig, saying he’s “very pleased” his Olympic experience allows him to “talk about the Olympics in a straight talk matter.”
“I think it would be appropriate if the president would talk to China in a straight talk manner,” Romney said. “They have manipulated their currency for well over a decade, taken American jobs and I think it’s totally appropriate to show backbone and strength as we deal with other nations around the world, there is nothing wrong with telling people the truth.”
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Dakin Andone, CNN
Jackson Adams, Teton Valley News
Dylan Byers, CNN
Azadeh Ansari and Angela Dewan, CNN