Democratic Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry, who was pinned as a flip-flopper by the re-election campaign of George W. Bush when he ran for president in 2004, called out Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney as a foreign policy flip-flopper at the Democratic National Convention Thursday night.
“It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan. He has every position,” Kerry, who is a leading candidate to replace Hillary Clinton as secretary of state should President Obama win a second term, said.
“He was against setting a date for withdrawal—then he said it was right—and then he left the impression that maybe it was wrong to leave this soon. He said it was ‘tragic’ to leave Iraq, and then he said it was fine. He said we should’ve intervened in Libya sooner. Then he ran down a hallway to duck reporters’ questions. Then he said the intervention was too aggressive. Then he said the world was a ‘better place’ because the intervention succeeded.”
“Talk about being for it before you were against it!” Kerry quipped, employing the line that was used against him in 2004.
“Mr. Romney—here’s a little advice: Before you debate Barack Obama on foreign policy, you better finish the debate with yourself!”
Kerry also defended President Obama from Republican attacks that he has treated Israel poorly while in office.
“Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel to tighten sanctions on Iran — and take nothing off the table,” Kerry declared.
“Again and again, the other side has lied about where this president stands and what this president has done. But [Israeli] Prime Minister Netanyahu set the record straight — he said, our two countries have ‘exactly the same policy’ — ‘our security cooperation is unprecedented.’ When it comes to Israel, I’ll take the word of Israel’s prime minister over Mitt Romney any day.”
Kerry’s statement about the closeness of the American and Israeli position on Iran comes the same day more details were revealed about what The Atlantic magazine’s Jeffrey Goldberg described as an “explosive confrontation” between America’s ambassador to Israel Dan Shapiro and Netanyahu last month over America’s position on dealing with Iran’s nuclear program.
Perhaps Kerry’s biggest applause line came when he told the crowd to, “Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago.”
Kerry also mocked Romney’s statement that Russia was America’s “number one geopolitical foe.”
“Folks: Sarah Palin said she could see Russia from Alaska; Mitt Romney talks like he’s only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV,” Kerry quipped.
Before closing, Kerry blasted Romney for not mentioning American serviceman fighting overseas during his speech at the Republican National Convention last week.
“No nominee for president should ever fail in the midst of a war to pay tribute to our troops overseas in his acceptance speech,” he said. “Mitt Romney was talking about America. They are on the front lines every day defending America, and they deserve our thanks.”
Kerry also made a rare passing mention of climate change at the convention, even if he did not explicitly use the term.
“Despite what you heard in Tampa, an exceptional country does care about the rise of the oceans and the future of the planet,” he said.
Over the first two days of the Democratic National Convention, climate change was only explicitly mentioned one time by a speaker despite the fact that the Democratic Party platform says the “national security threat from climate change is real, urgent, and severe.”