Mitchell Reports | October 08, 2012
>>> mitt romney has accused the president of failure of leadership. also failure of leadership that's emboldened iran and other u.s. adversaries abroad in the middle east and north africa .
>> this president's policies haven't been equal to our best examples of world leadership. nowhere is this more evident than in the middle east . i want to be very clear. the blame for the murder of our people in libya and the attacks on our embassies in other countries lies solely with those who carried them out. no one else. but it is our responsibility and the responsibility of the president to use america's greatest power to shape history, not to lead from behind.
>> foreign policy adviser to the romney campaign joins us now. i want to talk about the speech.
>> good to be with you.
>> let's talk first of all about benghazi . there are hearings coming up. darryl issa is pursuing the issues of what went wrong and what the president did and what mitt romney would have done differently. let's listen to what governor romney said today. he talked about the fact that -- excuse me. i wanted to quote the fact that he talked about the attack on the consulate and he said that it was likely to same people who attacked us on september 11 , tieg tying it to al qaeda and that he would vigorously pursue those who attacked the consulate in benghazi . we heard from the white house they are planning to target who was responsible. what would governor romney do differently than president obama is planning to do? given to the fact ta benghazi had a high number of foreign fighters based, al qaeda fighters that flooded into iraq years earlier. there are a lot of questions. the real question, you take a step back. president obama 's foreign policy in the middle east . at one point some two dozen capitols, storming embassies. iran closer to a nuclear bomb. you were talking about the bloodshed in syria. what governor romney is saying is rather than make analysis of tactical developments we have to step back and say had the administration been an observer of events rather than a shaper of them. has their foreign policy which had us taking a back step. we talk about a pivot to asia, diminished our policy to protect our interests and those of the allies in the region.
>> let me ask about syria. i wasn't sure if governor romney is saying he would have u.s. heavy weapons arms directly to the rebels or he would work through the saudis or others in the region who want to arm the rebels. how is he different.
>> what governor romney said is if we don't reach out and find the responsible and moderate forces within the opposition movement, they would be left stranded alone and isolated --
>> hillary clinton had meeting after meeting -- you know the secretary of state has gone to meetings and met with them trying to see who are the real representatives.
>> for months they made the case that there weren't people within the opposition movement for them to work with. until the movement stepped up and showed the mettle that the u.s. would not cooperate. we think that's the wrong approach. we should proactively seek out who the responsible actors r. it's a self-fulfilling prophecy. give them the tools through allies to have the upper hand. the extreme islamists will have the dominant position. we wanted to supply weapons, training and finances to the opposition. in some cases they have. they have a fighting shot at winning the fight.
>> how do you know we are not doing that now covertly.
>> well, there have been public reports that some of it's been done. i'm taking the words of the administration and the public statements. they have consistently made the case for why it would be a mistake to give the opposition forces these weapons. there are all sorts of consequences for it. they have stated that. they have stated they are doing more of that. governor romney says why didn't they do it from day one? with iran they talk about tough sanctions in place. the question is why did they wait for 2011 , 2012 to put sanctions in place in iran ? when congress pushed for sanctions --
>> on that note --
>> -- fighting them every step of the way.
>> sir, you know well those were the unilateral sanctions on the central bank and the reason given by the treasury officials, right or wrong; was to do that level of sanctions would create an energy crisis at that time because there was enough other oil.
>> no, andrea, come on.
>> let me finish the question. i was reporting this in realtime.
>> okay. fair enough.
>> what about the multilateral sanctions this administration achieved with the help of getting russia and china on board which the bush administration was never able to achieve because there was no understanding or no agreement from the u.n. that diplomacy was given some time to work.
>> it's great we got multilateral sanctions through the u.n. security council . unfortunately the price we paid for getting china and russia to buy into the sanctions was that the central bank sanctions would not be included. everyone agrees across the political divide in the united states who follow the issue closely that the central bank sanctions are the ones that had the real bite. the administration resisted efforts in congress repeatedly to get sanctions in place. you can cite, as they often do the economic implications. it's not clear to me why there were economic implications in 2009 - 2010 but not in # 2011 - 2012 but they said it would under mine the diplomatic strategy reaching out to the ayotollah, unconditionally trying to get unconditional talks. they were silent when there was a genuine protest movement in iran that would have put political pressure on the regime. all the moments whether it was economic or political pressure in 2009 and 2010 the administration did nothing because they believed there was a direct deal they could get done with the regime. it failed. it didn't ha. it is important that today we have sanctions in place that are having an impact. we are simply saying imagine if those sanctions and the political pressure that could be waged had been put in place earlier on. to say things are going fine just because the iranian economy is in bad shape is a sad statement of the state of affairs . the goal isn't to weaken the iranian economy but to stop the program. weaken i weakening the regime.
>> dan --
>> closer to the nuker la program and they are.
>> quick question on egypt. would governor romney have stuck with mubarak or not?
>> look, he's made clear that the there was a legitimate, bonified reform movement that went from tahrir square around the region and we should have stood with the people on the streets protesting, trying to get reform in place. so he was supportive of that arab spring.
>> thank you very much, dan