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Posts Tagged ‘mitt romney’

How will you pay for the Iraq War?

Answer: the same way we have been.

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Edited to fix Thomas More College link.

So here is my encounter from an Ask Mitt Anything last night at Thomas More College. Romney actually received a lot of pretty tough, somewhat combative, questions.

So I asked a tough question….and Romney was textbook at dodging all parts of the question.

Erin: The Department of Energy and the Bush Administration have plans to develop a new generation of nuclear weapons, including the Reliable Replacement Warhead. Not only would this seem to undermine the purpose of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, of which we are a signatory, it would send the wrong message to the rest of the world with a “do as I say, not as I do” nuclear policy. As President, would you continue funding this project? If you would, how can you justify your response when the United States already has 10,000 nuclear warheads which scientists have deemed “reliable”?

Romney: I will not commit to weakening our nuclear arsenal, especially in a time of radical jihad. When we have countries like Iran, sitting on virtually endless supply of energy, pursuing nuclear technology with such haste – if we continue to allow them to pursue nuclear dreams it will encourage other countries to do so as well. We will not go outside our obligations to the NPT but I will not commit to unilaterally weakening our nuclear arsenal in a time like this.

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Michelle Cunha of Hill, N.H. works for New Hampshire Peace Action, and she landed in the spotlight Monday when she was asked to leave Mitt Romney’s campaign event at Insight Technologies in Londonderry.

Cunha said she has been making the rounds of both Democratic and Republican contenders’ campaign stops, handing out list of questions for people to ask of the presidential candidates.

She finished passing out the leaflets on Monday and was sitting down to hear Romney, who had not yet arrived, when a man and a woman asked who she was with, why she was passing out the fliers and who invited her to the event.

Cunha said part of the conversation went like this: “We support this candidate, which is why we invited him. These don’t support him.” Then the two asked her to leave, and she did.

It was ironic, she said, because she originally went to Insight’s other Londonderry location by mistake, and employees there were not only helpful but gave her a map to help her find the right address. She was never told that she needed an invitation to get in, she said.

Insight Technologies did not immediately return questions seeking comment. The employee who collected the leaflets did not want to be interviewed. She referred questions to the company’s human resources office.

Romney ended up answering the questions Cunha had handed out after Herbert Hoffman of Maine asked him how he felt about the peace activist being tossed from the event. Hoffman showed Romney the leaflet and asked if the questions were toxic to him.

“There is nothing toxic to me,” he said. “I was on ‘Meet the Press’ yesterday.”

The questions on Cunha’s leaflets asked candidates who support ending the Iraq War if they would have the troops out by the end of 2009. For candidates who want to keep the troops there, the question is how they propose paying for a long-term military presence.

For more click here, here, and here

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Mitt Romney’s bad day yesterday just didn’t seem to end.

LONDONDERRY – A former CIA analyst turned critic of the U.S. tactics in the war on terror tried to “Ask Mitt Anything” yesterday and found the former Bay State governor knows how to sidestep a diplomatic incident.

Ray McGovern, who has gained national attention as a critic of President Bush’s policies, asked Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney to comment on a news item about the U.S. assessment of Iran’s nuclear intentions. The question came up during a campaign appearance at Insight, a Londonderry firm which designs and manufactures tactical gear for the military.

McGovern quoted an Israeli source who said American intelligence is flawed and vowed that Israel would not let U.S. policy be based on a faulty assumption. Then he asked Romney how he feels about allowing Israel to dictate U.S policy.

Romney replied that he was not convinced the Israelis were trying to dictate American policy.

“There are 16 different intelligence agencies saying Iran continues to develop the fuel they need (for nuclear weapons),” he said. Meanwhile, Iran has only stopped building the warhead.

“That’s relevant, of course,” Romney said. But nonetheless, he said Iran could have a bomb in two to four years. Romney said he favors tightening sanctions against Iran and repeated a call to indict Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, for inciting genocide, quoting remarks Ahmadinejad made about wiping Israel off the map.

And the incident in which a New Hampshire Peace Action staff member was ejected from the event made the Concord Monitor also.

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Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney listens as Insight Technology buyer, Dena Vaudrien, right, explains why she removed leaflets passed out by a forum participant prior to Romney’s entrance at the facility in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. The person distributing the leaflets was removed from the event. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Romney’s appearance at Insight veered off course when an attendee asked Romney why a woman — who turned out to be from the anti-war American Friends Service Committee *— had been thrown out while distributing cards with a series of questions. The attendee asked if organizers considered such questions “toxic material.”

Romney replied, “There is nothing that’s toxic to me; I was on “Meet the Press” yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” He then grabbed the card and answered a series of questions, which focused on the Iraq war and alternate uses for the money being spent in the battle.

*The reporter is mistaken. The woman is a staff member for New Hampshire Peace Action, not American Friends Service Committee.

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Yesterday one of New Hampshire Peace Action’s staff members attended Romney’s Londonderry event. While there, she passed out flyers to audience members before Governor Romney arrived.

Two individuals, a man and a woman,* came up to the staff member and asked her to leave. The staff member left without further incident. She was never able to see Governor Romney speak.

A reporter wrote about the transaction and how it affected Romney’s day:

The event Romney was hosting at Insight Technology** was supposed to be a military-focused event. Romney tends to group his events for a day — or sometimes for a week — around a certain issue area, which usually amounts to just a slightly bigger than usual focus on the area in his stump speech. Despite today’s focus the military, other than a voter who pressed him on Iraq, there was very little on the topic.

Late into the Q&A session, a man in the audience stood up and waved a questionnaire at him, explaining that a woman distributing them was escorted out of the room and had been told she wasn’t welcome at his event. He then asked if Romney supported that sort of thing, and if he would answer all questions.

Romney kept stating that he believed he answered the man by saying he answers questions. “I was on Meet the Press yesterday, for Pete’s sake.” Finally, he took the paper and indulged the man by speed-reading three questions and answering them, but he was visibly irritated.

The first question was about the cost of the war, and Romney fired back an answer he’s given before about his bigger concern with the war is the cost in lives, not dollars. “I don’t want to get out of Iraq to save money; I want to get out of Iraq to save lives,” he concluded.

There was another question about nuclear weapons, and he said he had spoken with Henry Kissinger yesterday, and he stressed that now is not the time for the United States to rid itself of nuclear arms, pointing out his lack of confidence in Kim Jong-Il and Mahmoud Ahmadinehad to completely denounce nuclear weapons in their own countries.

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*The two individuals did not identify themselves, nor which organization they were with: Romney’s campaign staff or Insight employees.

**Makers of destructive weapons, ones designed to take another’s life, right here in the Granite State.

Top photo from the Associated Press. The caption next to the photo says Republican presidential hopeful, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney addresses a leaflet that was passed by a forum participant, then quickly removed by Insight Technology staff during a forum in Londonderry, N.H. Monday, Dec. 17, 2007. (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Bottom photo from Reuters. The caption says: Republican presidential candidate former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney holds up a pamphlet distributed at his campaign event by the American Friends Service Committee in Londonderry, New Hampshire December 17, 2007. An audience member asked Romney why the pamphlets, which featured questions about the war in Iraq, were taken away from audience members before Romney’s arrival. REUTERS/Brian Snyder (UNITED STATES)

The Nashua Telegraph also writes about the incident:

LONDONDERRY – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney lashed back at an anti-Iraq war heckler and continued his attacks on GOP rival Mike Huckabee on Monday.

Romney was speaking to employees at Insight Technology, when a supporter of the American Friends Services Committee stood up to object to campaign aides scooping up fliers critical of Bush foreign policy in the Middle East prior to the candidate’s arrival.

“Your campaign seems to regard this as toxic material and gathered up all of this material. Why don’t you want to answer these questions,” an unidentified senior citizen asked Romney.

“I am happy to receive any question that you have. Feel free to ask any question that you would like,” Romney responded.

When the man declined to ask a specific question, Romney asked for the yellow flier that had been seized and began reading from it.

“The war in Iraq costs hundreds of millions of dollars every day. Over time it will cost hundreds of billions in interest,” Romney read. “In my opinion, that is simply the wrong way to state it. The right way to respond to this is the cost in blood, not cost in dollars.”

Employees at the company applauded Romney’s answer.

Insight Technology is a growing defense contractor making night vision goggles and heat-seeking detectors for the military.

Romney also objected to one question asking if the candidates favored getting all troops out by the end of 2009.

“I don’t get out of Iraq to save money, the reason I want to get out of Iraq is to save lives,” Romney began.

“What possible patriot would suggest we take our troops out regardless of the consequences to our nation? We would be nuts to get out before that job were done.”

It even made USA Today.

Click here to see more pictures.

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Governor Mitt Romney spoke at Elliot Hospital today.

Question: Governor Romney, 12 US Army Captains have published a nation-wide op-ed calling for the immediate withdrawal from Iraq, or for the reinstatement of the draft. Given the increasing number of similar articles, how can you continue to stay the course in Iraq?

Answer: Because it’s working, number one. Number two, because it would be unacceptable to this country for al Qaeda or Hezbollah to be established in Iraq. If the Sunni population of Iraq were dominated by al Qaeda, which is what they’re trying to do over the last few years. If they are successful in dominating the Sunni population, you would have a place in the world with vast resources, population as well, that would be able to recruit, train, and launch terrorist attacks against us and against our friends around the world.

That would be unacceptable.

And so, our troop surge–oh, and by the way, over the last three or four years, all kinds of errors and I can’t justify that–but the effort that General Petraeus is leading, that has led to a surge and has led to the Sunnis helping us reject al Qaeda, to such an extent that Osama bin Laden said on a tape–what, three days ago?–“please, come to Iraq. This is the big battlefield. Come join us here.” Why would he do that? Because it’s not working for him because his people are on the run. So I believe it’s important for us to maintain our troop surge. We’re going to start to bring our troops down and the Iraqi military is going to start standing up and taking front line responsibility. We’re taking out one brigade a month starting in January, and our troops will play much more of a support roll, but I believe it’s essential for us not to allow a safe haven for al Qaeda to exist.

If you think about what they watched from Afghanistan and Afghanistan doesn’t begin to have resources that Iraq has. If they took over Iraq in some way, or some portion of Iraq, it would be very very dangerous to this country and that’s why I support the effort at this stage.

Question: Mr. Romney, I spent 20 years in the army and I’m curious about what you have to say about Iran at this point.

Answer: I’ve been talking about Iran a lot. I went to Israel in January and spoke to the Herzliya Conference [?] in Tel Aviv and said the greatest threat to the safety of the world is Iran. And I believe that’s very much the case.

They’re moving head long into developing nuclear weaponry. They talk about genocide, they talk about wiping a nation off the face of the earth. They talk about killing us. They just had a rally in Tehran and handed out bibs to ralliers “death to Israel” “Death to America”. People with those kind of bibs on, a government that promotes that, is developing the technology that will carry that out. That’s unacceptable to us. Therefore, I support very strict economic and diplomatic sanctions immediately on Iran–I have been proposing that for sometime– I proposed, as well, that states and others that do business with Iran–excuse me–that business who do business with Iran that pension funds do not invest in those business, that we in no way, support those. I saw the President, just this morning, well actually it’s the Washington Post, that the President, or the Administration will be announcing today, tough unilateral measures of that nature to put a lot of pressure on Iran. I think that’s the absolute right way to go.

Ultimately, these measures ought to work if we can get other nations in the world to come together. And when I say “tough measures” I mean really clamp down on their economy. I would indict Ahmadinejad, their president, under the Genocide Convention. The Genocide Convention, that we have entered into, says incitations for genocide is an indictable offense. I would indict him on that basis. Let that country know they are a pariahs.

I’d indict him, I’d clamp down on economic sanctions, and hope those work and keep on squeezing tighter and tighter until they do work. If, for some reason, they continue down their course of folly toward nuclear ambition, then I would take military action if that was available to us, that option is on the table. It’s not something which I will spell out specifically, I already can’t lay out how that will be done, but we have a number of options from blockade to bombardment of some kind, and that’s something we have to very much keep on the table, and ready ourselves to be able to take, because frankly, I think it’s unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapon.

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