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

Koreas Mark 61st Anniversary of War Armistice

Muted observances on both sides of heavily-armed Demilitarized Zone that separates two decades-long enemies More

Judge Declares Washington DC Ban on Public Handguns Unconstitutional

Ruling overturns capital city's prohibition on carrying guns in public More

Pricey Hepatitis C Drug Draws Criticism

Activists are using the International AIDS Conference to criticize drug companies for charging high prices for life-saving therapies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Students in Business for Themselvesi
X
Mike O'Sullivan
July 26, 2014 11:04 AM
They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Students in Business for Themselves

They're only high school students, but they are making accessories for shoes, fabricating backpacks and doing product photography - all through their own businesses. It's the result of a partnership between a non-profit organization that teaches entrepreneurship and their schools. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan and Deyane Moses met the budding entrepreneurs near Los Angeles.
Video

Video Astronauts Train in Underwater Lab

In the world’s only underwater laboratory, four U.S. astronauts train for a planned visit to an asteroid. The lab - called Aquarius- is located five kilometers off Key Largo, in southern Florida. Living in close quarters and making excursions only into the surrounding ocean, they try to simulate the daily routine of a crew that will someday travel to collect samples of a rock orbiting far away from earth. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Not Even Monks Spared From Thailand’s Junta-Backed Morality Push

With Thailand’s military government firmly in control after May’s bloodless coup, authorities are carrying out plans they say are aimed at restoring discipline, morality and patriotism to all Thais. The measures include a crackdown on illegal gambling, education reforms to promote students’ moral development, and a new 24-hour phone hotline for citizens to report misbehaving monks. Steve Sandford reports from Bangkok.
Video

Video Virtual Program Teaches Farming Skills

In a fast-changing world beset by unpredictable climate conditions, farmers cannot afford to ignore new technology. Researchers in Australia are developing an online virtual world program to share information about climate change and more sustainable farming techniques for sugar cane growers. As VOA's Zlatica Hoke reports, the idea is to create a wider support network for farmers.
Video

Video Airline Expert: Missile will Show Signature on Debris

The debris field from Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 is spread over a 21-kilometer radius in eastern Ukraine. It is expected to take investigators months to sort through the airplane pieces to learn about the missile that brought down the jetliner and who fired it. VOAs Carolyn Presutti explains how this work will be done.
Video

Video Treatment for Childhood Epilepsy Heats up Medical Marijuana Debate

In the United States, marijuana is classed as an illegal drug by the federal government. But nearly half the states have legalized it, to some degree. Proponents say some strains of marijuana might have exceptional health benefits, for treating pain or inflammation in chronic conditions such as cancer, multiple sclerosis and epilepsy. Shelley Schlender reports on a strain of medical marijuana developed in Colorado that is reputed to reduce seizures in childhood epilepsy
Video

Video Airbus Adds Metal 3D Printed Parts to New Jets

By the end of this year, European aircraft manufacturing consortium Airbus plans to deliver the first of its new, extra-wide-body passenger jets, the A350-XWB. Among other technological innovations, the new plane will also incorporate metal parts made in a 3-D printer. VOA's George Putic has more.
Video

Video AIDS Conference Welcomes Exciting Developments in HIV Treatment, Prevention

Significant strides have been made in recent years toward the treatment and prevention of HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. This year, at the International AIDS Conference, the AIDS community welcomed progress on a new pill that may prevent transmission of the deadly virus. VOA’s Anita Powell reports from Melbourne, Australia.
Video

Video IAEA: Iran Turns its Enriched Uranium Into Less Harmful Form

Iran has converted its stockpiles of enriched uranium into a less dangerous form that is more difficult to use for nuclear weapons, according to the United Nations’ Atomic Energy Agency. The move complies with an interim deal reached with Western powers on Iran's nuclear program last year, in exchange for easing of sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.

AppleAndroid