Former Secretary of State Colin Powell on Wednesday criticized Mitt Romney’s foreign policy stance, particularly when it comes to the presumptive GOP nominee’s statement earlier this year that Russia is the “number one geopolitical foe” of the United States.
“Some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought,” Powell said.
He brought up the statement by Romney on Russia, which the GOP contender made in an interview on CNN in March.
“Well, c’mon, Mitt; think,” Powell said. “That isn’t the case. And I don’t know whether Mitt really feels that or whether—“
“Or someone told him to say it?” MSNBC’s Mika Brzezinski asked.
“I don’t know, you ask him,” Powell responded. “I mean, it’s been catching a lot of heck from the more regular GOP foreign affairs community. We were kind of taken aback by it. Look at the world – there is no pure competitor to the United States of America.”
Foreign policy doesn’t rank high among voters’ concerns when it comes to the November election, according to recent polling. A Washington Post-ABC News poll released on Tuesday showed that only 3 percent of respondents cited either terrorism, national security, the war in Afghanistan or foreign policy as the single most important issue.
But that doesn’t mean that Romney’s foreign policy stance won’t matter in November, and the criticism from Powell shows that the presumptive GOP nominee could find himself playing defense on the issue when he spars with Obama in this fall’s debates.
In an interview later Wednesday on CNN’s “Situation Room,” Powell was asked by host Wolf Blitzer whether he backs same-sex marriage.
“I have no problem with it,” Powell responded. “And it was the Congress that imposed ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.’ It was certainly my position, and my recommendation, to get out us of an even worse outcome that could have occurred, if you’ll recall. But, as I’ve thought about gay marriage, I know a lot of friends who are individually gay but are in partnerships with loved ones. And they are stable a family as my family is. And they raise children.”
He added: “I don’t see any reason not to say that they should be able to get married under the laws of their state or the laws of the country, however that turns out -- it seems to be the laws of the state.”