CHARLOTTE (NORTH CAROLINA): Democrats launched the US President, Mr Barack Obama on his uncertain bid for re-election as they opened their national convention on Tuesday. They looked to help Mr Obama recapture the hearts of Americans once drawn to his message of hope and change, but now weary after years of economic weakness and political squabbles.
The star speaker on Monday, the First Lady, Ms Michelle Obama, drew a contrast between her husband and Mr Romney without mentioning the Republican’s name. She talked about her husband’s more humble background as a young man who drove a rusty car and wore dress shoes that were a size too small.
The Obama campaign has questioned the foreign policy credentials of Mr Mitt Romney, alleging that the Republican presidential candidate’s world view seems to be stuck in the Cold War, in the past.
"Mitt Romney has failed to lay out a clear set of plans for what he would do as commander-in-chief.
"He has embraced some of the most extreme elements in his party on national security as well as economic issues, which would only return us to the failed policies of the past which weakened our standing internationally and made us less secure here at home," Ms Michele Flournoy, Obama For America Advisor, told foreign journalists at a news conference here as the three-day Democratic national convention kicked-off.
The allegations were strongly denied by the Romney campaign.
Ms Flournoy, who served the Obama Administration as Under Secretary of Defence for Policy for two years said that US President Barack Obama has said in his two major foreign policy speeches during the campaign, that Romney failed to mention al-Qaeda even once.
"In his recent convention speech, he was the first Republican presidential candidate in 60 years not to mention an ongoing war, the war in Afghanistan. He spoke for nearly 45 minutes without even mentioning Afghanistan, even though we have tens of thousands of American troops in harm’s way at this moment," Ms Flournoy alleged.
"Governor Romney said that ending the war in Iraq and bringing our troops home was tragic, and yet he has failed to outline any plan for how he would bring the war in Afghanistan to an end and bring our troops home.
"When Governor Romney took his foreign trip earlier this summer, let’s just say that it didn’t go so well," she said adding that Mr Romney likes to talk tough.
"But when you scratch the surface of details, there’s not a lot of there. So for example, during the Republican Convention, Senator John McCain had some very muscular language on Syria, and you know he’s on record in terms of supporting no-fly zones and airstrikes and everything else. That’s not where Governor Romney is on this issue," she said.
"Romney is basically that to help the opposition to get rid of Assad, which is not all that different from where the current Administration is. The difference is that the Obama Administration actually has to govern on this issue and therefore understands the complexity of diving headlong into Syria’s evolving civil war, and so for all the right reasons has been extraordinarily cautious about what we’re doing," she said.
"I think that’s what the American people want and expect from a commander-in-chief, not just more bluster. We had enough of that the last go around. Romney’s world view seems to be stuck in the Cold War, in the past," Ms Flournoy said.
"He talks about China and Russia in Cold War terms without recognising the ways in which we must work with both of these countries on key challenges like confronting Iran. And we can do that; we can cooperate when we have shared interest, even as we can be very candid and stand up for issues where we disagree," Ms Flournoy responded.
"Romney also likes to criticise President Obama on Iran, but frankly he has offered no alternative plan.
"And when pressed what he would do differently, he basically describes current US policy, except to say that he might be willing to use force much more quickly and potentially risk another war in the Middle East," she said.