Taking a page out of President George W. Bush's re-election playbook, a progressive national security leadership group held a conference call on Friday to malign GOP presidential Mitt Romney as unfit to serve as commander-in-chief of the United States military. Bush famously touted national security as a top issue during his 2004 re-election campaign over Democratic candidate Sen. John Kerry of Massachusetts. Kerry, a Vietnam veteran, was tarnished by hard-hitting ads from a pro-Bush group known as the Swift Boat veterans.
In the 2012 version, it's the Truman National Security Project making the same arguement. The group hosted a call featuring three military veterans, two from South Carolina, the home of the next GOP primary, who praised the job President Obama has done and casting doubts about a Romney presidency.
"The commander-in-chief truly has to be an individual of steadfast conviction and leadership and I must say that it appears that Gov. Romney does not possess a majority of those qualities," said Rob Miller, a Marine combat veteran and Democratic congressional candidate in South Carolina.
Miller alluded to the "flip-flopping" reputation many associate with Romney.
"Our men and women in uniform, they need a leader who is decisive, someone who knows their beliefs and someone who can take smart, calculated risks when it concerns our veterans and our military members today serving in harm's way," he said.
Earlier on Friday, Romney released a list of South Carolina veterans supporting his candidacy.
"Mitt Romney believes in America and in the founding principles that make our country great, and he is the kind of steadfast leader we need during these challenging times," said Lt. General Bud Watts, former President of the Citadel in a statement.
Romney ran into trouble earlier this campaign season when he speculated about the benefits of turning over veteran health care to the private sector and having the federal government pay for it in as a voucher.
Miller also criticized Romney on that point.
"I've been increasingly concerned with this concept Gov. Romney is pushing of this VA voucher system," he said.
But the Romney release attempted to blunt any concerns voters might have about Romney's commitment to veteran care.
"Mitt Romney has been a strong advocate for veterans and will work to ensure that those who have heroically sacrificed for our country receive the care that they deserve," Watts said.