“When our men and woman are in harm’s way, I expect the president of the United States to address the nation on a regular basis and explain what’s happening and why they’re there, what the mission is, what its purpose is, how we’ll know when it’s completed,” Romney said. “Other presidents have done this. We haven’t heard this president do this.”
Romney added, “There are people overseas that are fighting for us, who are responding to the call of the commander in chief, and he ought to be reporting to their parents and their communities and the people of America.”
Romney’s statement came in response to a veteran who asked the running mates what they would do about “this damn mess in Afghanistan.” Romney did not lay out a plan other than to pledge to do “everything in my power” to transition control from U.S. forces to the Afghan military and to “bring our men and women home and do so in a way consistent with our mission.”
Romney’s vagueness drew a swift reply from the Obama campaign, which issued a statement calling on Romney to reveal his “secret plan” for managing the conflict in Afghanistan. Obama has said he would end the war by the end of 2014.
“The truth is that Romney has refused to put forth a plan for what he would do in Afghanistan,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith said in a statement. “If he does have some secret plan, he owes it to our men and women in uniform to tell them.”
Romney and Ryan took turns answering more than a half dozen questions from voters at what campaign aides said was Romney’s 100th town hall meeting since launching his candidacy in June 2011.
More than 3,000 voters surrounded them in folding chairs and bleachers, making up the largest crowd Romney has ever assembled in New Hampshire — a swing state bordering Romney’s home state of Massachusetts that the former governor has turned into a home base for his campaign.
“I feel like I’m almost a New Hampshire resident,” noted Romney, who owns a vacation home here on Lake Winnipesaukee. He quipped, “It would save me some tax dollars.”
Romney and Ryan made a grand entrance here, stepping out of their motorcade to the soundtrack of “Rudy,” as they walked across the quad at Saint Anselm College. On Saturday, Obama held two campaign events in New Hampshire, and at Monday morning’s town hall meeting Romney appealed for support from some of the president’s 2008 supporters.