By Teresa Welsh |
On the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Mitt Romney is scheduled to speak to the National Guard Association in Reno, Nev., in an address that Romney aides have said will allow him to reframe the debate on national security. Up until this point, polls have shown that national security has been of President Obama's strong points, particularly given his decision to approve the mission that killed 9/11 mastermind Osama bin Laden. Romney's national security disadvantage was compounded when he failed to mention the war in Afghanistan or the troops still fighting there in his convention acceptance speech, an omission Obama and his supporters pounded Romney for over and over again at their own party's convention. His gaffe-laden trip to Great Britain, Israel, and Poland in the summer did not help the case for his foreign policy skills either.
For decades, Republicans held the upper hand over Democrats on national security. In the 2004 election, Sen. John Kerry's Vietnam war experience was undermined by a political group called Swift Boat Veterans for Truth which questioned his military record. However a CNN/ORC poll released this week shows Obama holding a 12 point lead over Romney when likely voters are asked which candidate would do a better job handling national security issues. Nevertheless, Republicans have faulted Obama for his "lead from behind" strategy in the Arab Spring revolts and for being too soft on Iran. Top GOP foreign policy leaders like Sen. John McCain of Arizona have urged Romney to take more of a stand on national security. Can Mitt Romney best Barack Obama on national security? Here is the Debate Club's take:
Ford O'Connell Republican Strategist, Conservative Activist, and Political Analyst
Jason Edwards Associate Professor at Bridgewater State University
Jamie Chandler Political Scientist at Hunter College