"I think Romney just decided instead of fighting it, just concede it," said Colin Kahl, a former Pentagon official who advises Obama on national security issues.
Romney's economy-focused gamble may pay off, barring an unexpected crisis pushing foreign policy to the forefront.
A Fox News poll conducted earlier this month showed that just 30 percent of registered voters called foreign policy "extremely important" to their vote in November compared to 56 percent who felt that way about the economy. The same poll gave Obama an advantage over Romney, with 51 percent saying they trust the president to do a better job handling foreign policy compared to 28 who trust Romney more.
Obama's foreign policy credentials have been bolstered in large part by the killing of al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden by U.S. Navy SEALs.
Upon taking office, Obama was saddled with two U.S.-led wars; he started drawing down the Iraq conflict and boosted the American military presence in Afghanistan. He also quickly faced the reality that campaign promises aren't always as easy to execute in office when his pledge to shut down the Guantanamo Bay detention center ran into road blocks over whether to move terror suspects into U.S. prisons or send them back to their home countries.
Romney has criticized Obama's withdrawal plan in Afghanistan, but offered few details about how he would change it. He also says the president has been weak in his defense of Israel and made it easier for Iran to pursue a nuclear weapon. When Romney visited Israel on his foreign trip, he met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and discussed Israel's growing impatience over Iran's nuclear ambitions.
Romney advisers say Ryan's positions on those foreign policy issues and others are in line with the presumptive Republican nominee. Ryan voted for the Iraq war and for the 2007 troop surge that is credited with quelling violence there. He has opposed Obama's timeline for drawing down U.S. troops levels in Afghanistan, but has not said when and how he would seek to end that war.
Associated Press Deputy Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta contributed to this report.
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