Romney: U.S. at `Mercy of Events’

Photograph by Charles Dharapak/AP Photo

Mitt Romney arrives at Dulles International Airport in Sterling, Va., on Sept. 12, 2012.

Republican Mitt Romney has fielded criticism this week for his comments about the U.S. embassy and consulate attacks in Egypt and Libya — with President Barack Obama accusing his rival of shooting first, aiming later.

Campaigning today in one of the eight or nine states where Romney hopes to overtake Obama’s electoral advantage, Romney was pressing his foreign policy case in a campaign that has been steered more by economic concerns.

“As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems we’re at the mercy of events, rather than shaping events,” Romney said, campaigning in Fairfax, Virginia. “We have to have a military second to none and so strong that no one would think of testing it.”

Ever since Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s presidency, Romney said, the U.S. military has been able to deploy in two war theaters at once. Obama says the U.S. should equip for only one war, Romney complained.

Following a decade of two major deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq, the Pentagon completed a Defense Strategic Review in June. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said the Army must shrink to 490,000 soldiers over the next decade, from 570,000.

Romney also suggested that Obama’s convention speech was devoid of ideas — yet polling by Langer Research Associates for ABC News and the Washington Post this week found that 63 percent of registered voters surveyed say Romney hasn’t provided enough details about the policies he would pursue as president, compared with 31 percent who say he has.

“I expected there to be some new ideas in there,” Romney said of Obama’s convention speech. “There are no new ideas. He’s out of ideas, out of excuses, and come November you’re going to put him out of office.”

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