Note from FNC Colleague about what Obama campaign senior advisors are saying about Governor Romney’s upcoming trip overseas. See below:
OFA did a conference call with Robert Gibbs, Senior Advisor, Obama for America, Michele Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy, Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
*I’ve asked for a transcript and will send that out if/when it comes out.
*Their main message was saying that Romney has given very little specifics or substance on his foreign policy views.
*They drew a comparison to Obama’s foreign policy tour, where he gave several press conferences, visited multiple countries, met with troops and they say he presented out a specific vision and policies he wanted to accomplish, and has.
*Gibbs said that Mitt Romney is not engaged in this, hasn’t given specifics, just platitudes. Said that his ideas he has given are old policies that haven’t worked. He said American people deserve to know his views.
*Kahl said Obama likely to visit Israel in second term if wins, travel itinerary shouldn’t be indication of commitment, he’s been there several times
*Overall Gibbs said he does believe foreign policy will have a role in this election and that Americans want to know where the candidates stand.
*Gibbs went through Obama’s whole 2008 itinerary, countries and who he visited, all the press conferences, etc, and said that after that, Americans knew exactly where Obama stood. Said the question will this trip be substantive like high bar set four years ago. Or whether this is one long photo op and fundraising tour.
*Gibbs was asked to comment on fundraising aspect of this trip – Obama DID NOT fundraise four years ago, and Gibbs said based on versions of travel schedule, looks like Romney was doing schedule around raising money
*On Iran, Kahl said we have responsibility to try to solve this problem diplomacy, said Romney has somehwat suggested we should abandon diplomacy and do military, owes to american people to say so *****
*Flournoy slammed Romney for criticizing Obama admin’s Russia reset policy.
*Asked about Jewish voters, basically said Jewish voters have been supportive of Obama and democrats and will continue to be
*A reporter pointed out that the way they picture Bibi and Obama’s relationship is way rosier than it is in real life. Kahl restated a Bibi quote from AIPAC about the relationship and dismissed that there’s big tension. Said they are all aware of the optics and politics of personal relationship. Said he think leaders acknowledged strongest it’s ever been.
*Kahl said perplexed that Romney meant when he said his policy on Israel would be opposite of Obama’s.
Robert Gibbs, Senior Advisor, Obama for America
Michele Flournoy, former Under Secretary of Defense for Policy
Colin Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East
Romney’s foreign trip press conference call
11:20:58 foreign policy trip see foreign policy substantive and not just soundbytes, widely accepted president obama has a strong record on national security issues, having a hard time on these issues, this trip and this campaign begs several question mitt romney owes it to the american people as trying to be the leader of the free world. I remember getting ready for this trip four years ago, a lot of discussion about then Senator Obama’s experience, ready to perform the impt role of being commander in chief, four years ago we took that trip to show exactly that, this was a person who was ready to lead america on the world stage, we had the experience to implement renewed stakes around trip enormously high should be somebody running for commander in chief. Obama spent months talkinab otu many specific of ending war in iraq become foundation. he knew obviously this was a complicated trip our foreign policy the candidate believed they deserved to hear his vision.
11:23:41 ******* Mitt Romney is not engaged in this, hasn’t given specifics, just platitutes. Given his lack of experience, old policies, should be judged on substantive ideas he outlines, continues poilcies of Obama or return to time in which our foreign policy was a sore spot. American people deserve to know **** Helpful to spent a little bit of time what we did four years ago
11:24:37 Made it a priority to visit with Kuwait, AFghanistan troops serving there. Aghanistan briefed at Bagram Air Base also met with and helicoptered border pakistan breakfast with US troops and met privately with US military leaders, traveled to Iraq met with wide range Bazra and Baghdad briefed by general petraeus and then our top military commander in Iraq impt time in what was going on in Iraq and decisions and policies troops out of Iraq and returned home. Dinner with Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker. Maliki, President Talibani. Suni opposition. Bazra doctors nurses patients next the president flew to Jordan where we had a press conference discussed King Abdullah
11:26:52 personally drove the president drove to airport, high speed that secret service got nervous about. Flew to Israel landed had substantive issues on Israel side, Olmert, Peres, Barak, opposition leader Benjamin Netayanhu, helicoptered into Israel hamas rockets
11:27:46 it was there that he pledged to protect the Israeli people. Senator Obama met with father of captured family that had been captured hezbollah visited for the second time, next traveled to three european countries, Merkel, mayor of Berlin, France – Sarkozy, press conference. UK – series of meetings with Gordon Brown, David Cameron, Tony Blair, all these discussions focused on strengthening alliances. Specific foreign policy ideas that he pursued as president whether ending war in Iraq, increasing presence AFghanistan, protect Israel. Press conf in Jordan and France, press avail in Israel, sat down with network anchors, did segments on MTP, FTN, and also intvus with CNN and Fox.
Americans knew exactly where *** Pres Obama, question will this trip be substantative like high bar set four years ago.
Or whether this is one long photo op and fundraising tour.
11:30:43 since election revitalized globally is the US and UK, PM Cameron very close relationship, focus on alilances because they are so critical, complex environment, alliances afghanistan libya, iran, and the special relationship with Britain core of our alliances, facism, communsim, there are lots of policy areas we can talk about the president, today most important one, afghanistan, big question Gov Romney needs to answer, all of our NATO alies agreed to plan to end, we have put al Qaeda on path to defeat training to take the lead, the core of what we are doing time for US troops to begin coming home,. all of our NATO allies, end combat mission by end of 2014, some 33,000 troops home/. One of the few specifics he has layed out is opposition to plan to end the war, how will he address other issues where he disagrees with British friends. Voters deserve answers, if he is ready, willing to have open and honest discussions about policies with some of our strongest allies, another one of our strongest allies is Israel,
11:34:21 intense upheaval, in Syria Assad regime losing control helping navigate transition and we brought int’l community together
11:34:47 this isn’t time to be playing politics all of these complicated issues are ones the president started to address when he did his trip other middle eastern countries, policy issues Romney needs to address.
11:35:30 I literally had 100 meetings, I feel like I know this well, have been surprised by positions or lack of positions. When asked by a group Romney policy, do the “opposite” of what Obama has done, if we take him at his work, he’d do opposite. Do opposite of helping build iron dome system, rockets from Gaza strip, United Nations. Trapped in Cairo embassy, would really do opposite, disagree with Peres, Barak, Netanyahu, said badge of honor closest it’s ever been, descrbies president Obama wide all encompassing
will talk about Iranian threat outline plan to pressure Iran say what do different frankly all we’ve gotten is talk, mirrors what obama done Iran, said stop all, led int’l efforts, working closely all while keeping credibly military option Iran is struggling to cope with pressure will only continue to build, we have respon to try to solve this problem diplomacy, abandon diplomacy and do military, owes to american people to say so *****
11:38:39 When goes to Poland – may focus on Russia, say our reset hurt allies, when look stronger than ever, in security domain where we substantially look at missile defense this admin, NATP, missile defenese significant parts, I think when President OBama visited Poland reaffirmed importance followed up. Poland has been supportive every one recognizes relationship with Russia is difficult. Syria is most noted from our ability to work with Russia we supply troops through Russian territory, sanctions Iran threat nuclear weapon, wouldn’t be able to sustain if we went back to cold war thinking and treated like enemy. Romney said Russia was foe, most remember widely panned even Colin Powell said in response come on Mitt think, this isn’t the case, question is will repeat, bottom line we have made a lot of progress ended war in Iraq, al Qaeda now shadow reuilbt alliances same policies are alliances, stronger today under president Obama than anytime in recent memory. Faced a number of challenges criticize serious people understand complexities, Romney hasn’t told us this trip is an opportunity look forward to what he has to say.
FUNDRAIERS, OBAMA DID NOT FROM WHAT RECALL, ANY FEAR, IMPACT ON JEWISH VOTE IN US
11:44:02 You recall correctly, we didn’t do fundraisers on our trip, in many ways some of early plans look like Romney built trip around fundraisers. we’ve sent surrogates overseas to do fundraisers with American citizens. Real question is the American people demand and require something greater of candidates than speaking to a fundraising reception. How going to lead in increasingly dangerous world.
11:45:12 what are you going to tell cameron, doing the opposite of what barack obama has done, I read a few of the previews. They went seem to extraordinarly lengths to say won’t give details, one saying two speeches but not give details, I don’t know how give major speech with our details. One thing to do on campaign trail, but to go and where issues crucially impt and not give details, the bar really is going to shed light on what appears to be secrecy of foreign policy plan.
11:46:22 I’m not going to make political prediction, I think key is to get him to give specifics. Jewish voters and Israel, pretty clear been supportive of Obama, been supportive of the democractic obama admin unpresedented in the last three years alone pres worked with hundreds of millions of dollars, what’s interesting aobut contrasting Obama trip with Romney’s trip, wasn’t a political trip, was a substantitve trip, victimized by Palestinian rocket from Gaza strip, President Obama oneo f these guys, means what he says, and does what he says, Israel’s security worked with Congress over and above their annual iron dome system. I think Jewish voters in US understand how impt Israel is to this administration, what really perplexed what Romney meant when he said his policy would be opposite**** Iron dome, throwing Israel under bus, if he means that, good luck
Q-POLICY – OBAMA VISIT?
11:49:26 Obama visited Israel as candidate, I think we can expect trip in second term, not just travel itinerary, he has been several times, iron dome, part of robust helping to, not just protecting missiles that Hezbollah could fire or Iran this fall the US and Israeli Military largest joint military history aimed at defending missile threats, look I think most impt what Pres Obama has done or standing up. I think admin final year of office weren’t critizing him, don’t see policy difference, distraction
Q- IF ADDRESS ROMNEY PERSONAL RELATIONSHIP WITH NETANYAHU, IF GO BY THIS CALL, OBAMA ADMIN RELATIONSHIP HAS BEEN HONKY DORY, AND THAT SEEMS UNREALISTIC, US GAIN ADVANTAGE IN NETANYAHU ADMIN, PRE-EXISTING RELATIONSHIP. THINK US HAS NOT BEEN TIMULTUOUS OVER LAST THREE AND HALF YEARS
11:52:48 Netanyahu was asked FNS, avoided saying anything about Romney, politics less relevant than substance. Incumbent I think that is hard all the things done for Israel security. We are all aware of the optics and politics of personal relationship. I think leaders acknowledged strongest it’s ever been. Netanyahu after APAIC, one thing stands out Israel and America stand together, just a few months ago. Is is good shape, share common vision commitment for Israeli security, concrete improvements.
Q- WHAT PRES DO SHOULD HE WIN
11:55:05 When pres of US every day involved in foreign policy, for president Obama this is ongoing each and situations throughout the world probably two come to mind, Afghanistan and Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons I think that the foreign policy is going to play a role in this eleciton ********* I think American people want to know vision and the role they see for America. Policies, if Mitt Romney wants to keep troops longer than 2014, that has policy implications domestic policy decisions. I think that voters want to know where these guys stand, what policies specific policies they would pursue. Pres has used this trip foundation set forth policies has and will continue to pursue on very impt issues whether missiles and nuclear weapons, a whole host democracy role of our military in places like Afghanistan.