Turns out, Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley isn’t the only Democrat in Annapolis with a platform to criticize Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney.
Need a rebuttal to Romney on military affairs or veterans’ issues? Insert Lt. Gov. Anthony G. Brown.
Democrats on Monday turned to Brown (D), the nation’s highest-ranking elected politician to have served a tour of duty in Iraq, to help return fire on Romney’s support of the austere federal spending plan authored by House Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.).
Democrats have seized on a line item in the plan that would reduce spending on veterans by 13 percent. (The Post’s WonkBlog dissected the issue, finding the cut is based in Ryan’s lower projection of the number of veterans who will need disability compensation).
On a conference call with leaders of the left-leaning Truman National Security Project and promoted by the Democratic National Committee, Brown blasted Romney for supporting a spending plan that would “leave out” veterans.
Stretching a little further from his military background, Brown also took aim at Mitt Romney for weekend comments in which he continued a fresh assault on President Obama, again accusing Obama of promoting “a government-centered society” and questioning his commitment to American exceptionalism.
“Even for Mitt Romney, who we all know will say anything to get elected, this statement was particularly troubling,” Brown told reporters. “American exceptionalism means standing up for those who are the backbone of our great nation — veterans, seniors, the middle class – and Mitt Romney continues to fail that test at every turn. His endorsement of the Paul Ryan budget shows that Mitt Romney isn’t concerned with fighting for those who are the true economic engines of America.”
In a rare response to criticism from Romney, Obama also addressed the comment Monday without saying Romney’s name:
In a news conference, Obama noted that the 2004 Democratic convention speech that brought him to national attention was all about “American exceptionalism.” He also said his career has been “a testimony to American exceptionalism.”
On the conference call, Truman Vice President Michael Breen also teed up Romney for asserting last week in an interview to CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer that Russia was the United States’ biggest geopolitical enemy.
“Russia,” Romney said, “without question, our number one geopolitical foe. They — they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors.”
Breen said Romney was stuck in cold war mode.
“I don’t know how you look at a world in which al-Qaeda continues to wish harm on the United States, where Iran is trying to acquire nukes and where China is rising, and decide that you are living in the 1980s and Russia is somehow our greatest challenge. The naiveté that he and his campaign have demonstrated time and again on these issues is truly staggering.”