Romney Steps Up Efforts to Draw Contrasts With Obama

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has been increasingly willing to speak out against President Obama.
Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney has been increasingly willing to speak out against President Obama. (By Manuel Balce Ceneta -- Associated Press)
By Chris Cillizza
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney roundly condemned the approach President Obama has taken to redefining the nation's relationship with the rest of the world, describing it as a "tour of apology" in a speech to the conservative Heritage Foundation yesterday.

In an address in which he sought to lay out his broad vision for national security -- a $50 billion annual increase in the defense modernization budget, "regime-crippling sanctions" against North Korea and full funding for a missile defense system -- the Republican saved his strongest criticism for the president.

"This is the time for strength and confidence, not for apologizing to America's critics," Romney said at one point, adding later that "arrogant, delusional tyrants cannot be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows."

Romney's speech is part of a stepped-up effort by the 2008 contender for the GOP presidential nomination to draw contrasts with Obama ahead of what many expect will be another White House run, in 2012.

Less than 24 hours before hitting Obama on defense and national security, Romney was on "Fox News Sunday" taking issue with the administration's plan to put General Motors into bankruptcy to restructure the company.

"We don't want a president and a head of the [United Auto Workers] running General Motors," Romney said during the appearance. "The American public ought to own that enterprise."

Although Romney is derided by many Democrats, he is one of the most popular figures among the Republican faithful, many of whom believe his work on behalf of Sen. John McCain (Ariz.), the GOP presidential nominee last year, proved his mettle.

Republicans also regard Romney as perhaps their most effective economic messenger, able to draw on his success in the private sector in combating Obama.

Romney is also working aggressively behind the scenes to line up support for such a bid, campaigning all over the country -- most recently in Virginia -- on behalf of Republican candidates.

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