News / USA

US Presidential Campaigns Spar on Foreign Policy

Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
x
Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
Republican vice-presidential candidate US Congressman Paul Ryan speaks to supporters in Dover, New Hampshire (file photo).
Michael Bowman
The U.S. presidential race has had an all-consuming focus on the economy, at least until now. While economic matters continue to dominate, international affairs have forced their way into the nation’s political discourse less than six weeks before the election.

The campaigns of President Barack Obama and his Republican challenger, Mitt Romney, are exchanging sharp words on recent events in Libya and other foreign policy challenges, as the candidates themselves prepare for their first debate later this week.

Sunday, former Governor Mitt Romney’s vice presidential pick, Congressman Paul Ryan, slammed the Obama administration’s handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

“Their response was slow.  It was confused, it was inconsistent. They first said it was a YouTube video [that sparked the violence] and a spontaneous mob [that attacked the consulate]. We now know that it was a planned terrorist attack.”

Ryan spoke on the U.S. television program Fox News Sunday. He said the Benghazi attack is symptomatic of a failed American foreign policy under President Obama.

“We are seeing the ugly fruits of the Obama foreign policy unravel around the world on our television screens. In Syria, 20,000 dead people. Iran is closer to a nuclear weapon.  The Middle East peace process is in shambles, and we have our flags being burned all around the world. This is a weak foreign policy with terrible results, which makes us less safe.”

Pushing back against such criticism, White House senior adviser David Plouffe says there is no mystery to the administration’s changing descriptions of the Libya attack.

“There has been an ongoing investigation. And this is an event of great interest to the news media and the public, understandably. So there has been information provided real-time [moment-by-moment]. Obviously, you are going to know more about an event a week after it happens.”

Appearing on ABC’s This Week program, Plouffe defended President Obama’s handling of world affairs.

“This president promised a few things in 2008.  He would end the Iraq war, he did.  He would take the fight to al-Qaida and degrade them, he has. He would focus on [Osama] bin Laden and bring him to justice, we did. Governor Romney called ending the Iraq war tragic. And he said famously in 2008 [that] he would not have gone into Pakistan to get bin Laden."

Public-opinion polls show American voters overwhelmingly concerned with economic matters, but generally giving higher marks to President Obama on foreign policy questions than Governor Romney. The first presidential debate Wednesday will focus on the economy, with a later debate dedicated to foreign affairs.

You May Like

Westgate Mall Attack Survivors Confront Painful Memories

On anniversary of terror attack, survivors discuss how they have coped with trauma they experienced that day More

Iraqi Kurd President Urges World Community to Protect Syrian City

Islamic State fighters are besieging Kobani, also known as Ayn al-Arab, after seizing at least 21 surrounding villages in a major assault against city on Syria's northern border with Turkey More

Video Whaling Summit Votes to Uphold Ban on Japan Whale Hunt

Conservationists hail ruling as a victory, but Tokyo says it will submit revised plans for a whale hunt in 2015 More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctionsi
X
September 18, 2014 2:28 AM
A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Russian Economy Reeling After New Western Sanctions

A new wave of Western sanctions is hitting Russia’s economy hard. State-owned energy firms continue to bleed profits and Russia’s national currency plunged to a new low this week after the U.S. and the European Union announced new sanctions to punish Russia's aggressive stance in eastern Ukraine. But as Mil Arcega reports, the sanctions could also prove costly for European and American companies.
Video

Video Belgian Researchers Discover Way to Block Cancer Metastasis

Cancer remains one of the deadliest diseases, despite many new methods to combat it. Modern medicine has treatments to prevent the growth of primary tumor cells. But most cancer deaths are caused by metastasis, the stage when primary tumor cells change and move to other parts of the body. A team of Belgian scientists says it has found a way to prevent that process. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Mogadishu's Flood of Foreign Workers Leaves Somalis Out of Work

Unemployment and conflict has forced many young Somalians out of the country in search of a better life. But a newfound stability in the once-lawless nation has created hope — and jobs — which, some say, are too often being filled by foreigners. Abdulaziz Billow reports from Mogadishu.
Video

Video A Dinosaur Fit for Land and Water

Residents and tourists in Washington D.C. can now examine a life-size replica of an unusual dinosaur that lived almost a hundred million years ago in northern Africa. Scientists say studying the behemoth named Spinosaurus helps them better understand how some prehistoric animals adapted to life on land and in water. The Spinosaurus replica is on display at the National Geographic museum. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Iraqi Kurdistan Church Helps Christian Children Cope find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil

In the past six weeks, tens of thousands of Iraqi Christians have been forced to flee their homes by Islamic State militants and find shelter in churches in the Kurdish capital, Irbil. Despite U.S. airstrikes in the region, the prospect of people returning home is still very low and concerns are starting to grow over the impact this is having on the displaced youth. Sebastian Meyer reports from Irbil on how one church is coping.
Video

Video NASA Picks Boeing, SpaceX to Carry Astronauts Into Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, has chosen Boeing and SpaceX companies to build the next generation of spacecraft that will carry U.S. astronauts to the International Space Station by the year 2017. The deal with private industry enables NASA to end its dependence on Russia to send space crews into low Earth orbit and back. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Future of Ukrainian Former President's Estate Uncertain

More than six months after Ukraine's former President Viktor Yanukovych fled revolution to Russia, authorities have yet to gain control of his palatial estate. Protesters occupy the grounds and opened it to tourists but they are also refusing to turn it over to the state. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Mezhigirya, just north of Kyiv.
Video

Video China Muslims Work to Change Perceptions After Knife Attacks

China says its has sentenced three men to death and one woman to life in prison for a deadly knife attack in March that left more than 30 dead and 140 injured. Beijing says Muslim militants from China's restive western region of Xinjiang carried out the attacks. Now, more than six months after the incident, residents in the city are still coping with the aftermath. VOA's Bill Ide has more from Kunming.


Carnage and mayhem are part of daily life in northern Nigeria, the result of a terror campaign by the Islamist group Boko Haram. Fears are growing that Nigeria’s government may not know how to counter it, and may be making things worse. More

AppleAndroid