This post has been updated.
As Mitt Romney prepares for an introductory foreign policy tour across Europe and Israel this week, President Obama appeared before the Veterans of Foreign Wars to talk up his successes overseas.
The short version of Obama’s speech: The U.S. military and the country’s image abroad is stronger than President George W. Bush left it. Oh, and by the way: Osama bin Laden is dead, and the war in Iraq is over.
With so much of the national focus on the domestic economy since the day Obama took office,
With the lion’s share of attention focused on the domestic economy throughout Obama’s first term, it’s easy to forget just how huge a role foreign policy played in the run-up to the 2008 election. Obama made his name as a presidential candidate in part by promising to end the Iraq war — and to track down bin Laden. Obama used the stage at the VFW convention in Reno Monday to remind everyone of that.
“Today every American can be proud that America is safer, stronger and more respected in the world,” Obama said.
Three years of Obama’s foreign policy have left “a new confidence in America” around the world, he said.
Democrats feel they’re on solid ground when it comes to Obama’s foreign policy bona fides. Polls show voters agree: A recent USA Today/Gallup poll found “More than half of Americans, or 52 [percent], say Obama can better handle foreign policy concerns compared with 40 [percent] who choose the presumptive Republican nominee.”
“You don’t just have my words,” Obama told the VFW, “you have my deeds, you have my track record, you have the promises I’ve made and the promises that I’ve kept.”
The bulk of Obama’s speech was focused on promoting his own accomplishments, but he did take a few jabs at the opposition. Mitt Romney has accused Obama of weakening the military, and promised to increase military spending and expand the number of troops and ships in the military’s standing forces. Obama rejected that notion.
“We will maintain our military superiority as long as I’m president and well into the future,” Obama said.