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FW- TRANSCRIPT- Press Call on Mitt Romney’s Trip to the UK, Israel and Poland

FW- TRANSCRIPT- Press Call on Mitt Romney’s Trip to the UK, Israel and Poland

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FW: TRANSCRIPT: Press Call on Mitt Romney’s Trip to the UK, Israel andPoland
Lis Smith [LSmith@barackobama.com]
Sent:
Monday, July 23, 2012 3:01 PM
To:
Seher, Jason - Time U.S. <jason_seher@timemagazine.com>
 
Here$you$go$
From:
Lis Smith
Sent:
Monday, July 23, 2012 1:54 PM
To:
Lis Smith
Subject:
TRANSCRIPT: Press Call on Mitt Romney’s Trip to the UK, Israel and Poland
$
!!!TRANSCRIPT:!Press!Call!on!Mi4!Romney’s!Trip!to!the!UK,!Israel!and!Poland
Monday,$July$23,$2012
!!NATIONAL!PRESS!SECRETARY!BEN!LABOLT!–!
Thanks.$Hey$everybody,$thanks$for$joining$the$call$today.$Wewanted$to$touch$base$with$you$before$Governor$Romney$headed$overseas$this$week.$On$the$line$we’ve$gotformer$White$House$Press$Secretary$Robert$Gibbs,$former$Undersecretary$of$Defense$for$Policy$MicheleFlournoy,$and$also$Colin$Kahl,$the$former$Deputy$Assistant$Secretary$of$Defense$for$the$Middle$East.$We’ll$startoff$with$some$remarks$and$then$open$it$up$for$Q&A.$To$get$us$started,$I’ll$turn$the$call$over$to$Robert$Gibbs.$Robert?
!SENIOR!ADVISOR!ROBERT!GIBBS!–!
Thanks,$Ben.$$And$thank$you$to$everybody$that’s$called$in$and$joined$ustoday.$As$you$all$know,$this$week$Mi$Romney$is$beginning$his$foreign$policy$trip,$where$he’ll$need$to$prove$to$theAmerican$people$that$he$sees$foreign$policy$issues$as$worthy$of$substanXve$discussion$rather$than$justgeneraliXes$and$sound$bites$in$this$campaign.$It’s$widely$accepted$that$President$Obama$has$an$excepXonallystrong$record$on$naXonal$security$issues.$And$I$think$quite$frankly$that$Mi$Romney$is$having$a$rather$toughXme$making$an$argument$against$the$President$of$the$United$States$on$these$issues.$But$this$trip$and$thiscampaign$begs$several$quesXons$and$I$think$Mi$Romney$owes$it$to$the$American$people$to$say$where$hestands$on$these$important$issues$as$he’s$trying$out$to$be$leader$of$the$free$world.$I$remember$ge[ng$ready$for$this$trip$four$years$ago.$Obviously$at$that$point,$there$was$a$lot$of$discussion$inthe$campaign$by$our$opponent$about$then$Senator$Obama’s$foreign$policy$credenXals$and$his$experience.$Andwhether$or$not$he$was$ready$to$perform$the$important$role$of$being$Commander\in\Chief.$Four$years$ago$this
FW: TRANSCRIPT: Press Call on Mitt Romneys Trip to the U...https://nycowa2.timeinc.com/owa/?ae=Item&t=IPM.Note&id...1 of 97/23/12 3:03 PM
 
month,$we$took$that$trip$to$show$exactly$that.$That$this$was$a$person$who$was$ready$to$lead$America$on$theworld$stage,$that$we$had$the$experience$to$implement$a$renewed$American$and$to$lead$the$world.$The$stakesaround$the$trip$obviously$were$enormously$high$and$they$should$be$for$somebody$that’s$running$for$theposiXon$of$Commander\in\Chief.$At$the$Xme$of$his$trip$obviously,$President—then$Senator$Obama,$excuse$me—had$spent$months$during$theprimary$talking$about$a$host$of$naXonal$security$issues$and$outlined$very$specific$policies$on$many$of$the$mostimportant$like$ending$the$war$in$Iraq,$refocusing$on$Afghanistan$and$al\Qaeda,$and$rebuilding$our$alliancesthroughout$the$world.$Those$are$policies$that$he$enumerated$on$this$trip$and$have$become$the$basis$andfoundaXon$of$his$foreign$policy$acXons$as$President$of$the$United$States.$He$knew$obviously$that$this$was$a$very$complicated$trip$and$like$this$trip$is$taking$place$at$an$enormouslyimportant$Xme$for$our$foreign$policy$in$a$number$of$important$countries$and$regions$around$the$world.$Again,most$importantly,$the$candidate$believed$that$the$American$people$deserved$to$hear$his$vision$of$foreignpolicy.$Mi$Romney$is$not$engaged$on$these$issues.$Instead$of$offering$specifics,$he’s$so$far$talked$only$inplaXtudes$and$criXcized$the$President.$Given$his$lack$of$experience$on$these$issues,$and$his$support$for$failedpolicies$that$were$pursued$during$the$Bush$AdministraXon,$I$think$this$trip$should$be$judged$on$the$type$of substanXve$ideas$that$Mi$Romney$outlines,$and$whether$he$would$conXnue$the$proven$policies$of$PresidentObama$or$return$us$to$a$Xme$in$which$our$foreign$policy$was$a$sore$spot,$quite$honestly,$in$the$world.$TheAmerican$people$deserve$to$know.$I$think$it’s$helpful$just$to$spend$a$few$minutes,$and$I’ll$do$so$now,$sort$of$outlining$a$lile$bit$about$what$wedid$four$years$ago.$First$and$foremost,$the$President$made$it$a$priority$to$visit$and$talk$with$our$troops$in$Afghanistan,$Iraq,$andKuwait.$It$was$important$during$the$trip$to$meet$servicemen$and$women,$as$well$as$consult$commanders$inthe$region$to$get$a$sense$of$the$situaXon$on$the$ground.$His$first$stop$was$in$Kuwait,$he$met$with$US$troopsthat$were$staXoned$there.$Next,$he$went$to$Afghanistan$where$he$held$a$two\hour$working$lunch$with$President$Karzai,$PresidentKarzai’s$NaXonal$Security$Advisor,$and$Afghanistan’s$ministers$of$Defense$and$Foreign$Affairs.$He$was$briefedby$US$commanders$at$Bagram$Air$Base$and$at$an$American$base$in$Jalalabad.$He$also$met$with$a$provincialgovernor$in$Jalalabad,$and$then$helicoptered$over$parts$of$Eastern$Afghanistan$that$border$Pakistan.$He$hadbreakfast$with$US$troops,$and$then$met$privately$with$US$military$leaders.$Next,$Senator$Obama$traveled$then$to$Iraq,$met$with$a$wide$range$of$American,$BriXsh,$and$Iraqi$officials$inBasra$and$Baghdad.$He$was$briefed$by$General$Petraeus,$and$then$our$top$military$commander$in$Iraq,obviously$in$a$very$important$Xme$in$what$was$going$on$in$Iraq$and$decisions$that$were$going$to$be$made$andthe$policies$that$the$President$pursued$to$get$our$troops$out$of$Iraq$and$returned$home.$He$had$dinner$withGeneral$Petraeus$and$also$met,$and$had$dinner$with,$Ambassador$Crocker.$He$met$with$Iraqi$Prime$MinisterMaliki,$President$Talabani,$Iraq’s$NaXonal$Security$Advisor,$as$well$as$Sunni$opposiXon$leadership.$In$Basra$hemet$with$American$and$Iraqi$soldiers,$with$doctors,$nurses,$and$paXents$at$a$combat$support$hospital.$Next$the$President$flew$to$and$landed$in$Jordan$where$we$had$a$press$conference$to$discuss$what$thePresident$had$seen$and$discussed$in$Iraq$and$Afghanistan.$He$had$a$one\on\one$session$with$King$Abdullah,who$then,$as$some$of$you$might$remember,$personally$drove$the$President$to$the$airport$at$a$high$rate$of speed$Secret$Service$got$sort$of$nervous$about.
FW: TRANSCRIPT: Press Call on Mitt Romneys Trip to the U...https://nycowa2.timeinc.com/owa/?ae=Item&t=IPM.Note&id...2 of 97/23/12 3:03 PM
 
$The$Senator$then$flew$to$Israel,$and,$aer$obviously$having$dinner$with$King$Abdullah,$landed$in$Israel$and$hadsubstanXve$meeXngs$with$Israeli$and$PalesXnian$leaders.$On$the$Israeli$side$he$met$with$then$Prime$MinisterOlmert,$President$Peres,$Defense$Minister$Ehud$Barak,$Foreign$Minister$Livni,$and$then$opposiXon$leaderBenjamin$Netanyahu.$He$also$met$with$PalesXnian$Authority$President$Abbas$and$Prime$Minister$Fayyad.$We$then$helicoptered$into$an$Israeli$town$near$the$Gaza$border$that$frequently$fell$vicXm$to$Hammas$rocketswith$foreign$minister$Livni$and$defense$minister$Barak.$It$was$there$that$he$pledged$to$protect$the$Israelipeople$and$as$president$he’s$funded$and$helped$Israel$build$the$Iron$Dome$system$that$protects$its$ciXzenstoday$from$these$deadly$rocket$aacks.$Senator$Obama$then$met$with$the$father$of$captured$Israeli$soldier$and$families$of$two$Israeli$soldiers$that$hadbeen$captured$and$killed$by$Hezbollah,$and$visited$for$the$second$Xme$the$holocaust$museum$at$Yad$Vashem.$Next$we$traveled$to$three$European$countries.$In$Germany,$Senator$Obama$met$with$Chancellor$Merkel,foreign$minister$Steinmeier$and$the$Mayor$of$Berlin.$In$France$Senator$Obama$met$with$then$President$Sarkozy$and$held$a$joint$press$conference.$In$the$United$Kingdom$Senator$Obama$held$a$series$of$meeXngs$with$then$Prime$Minister$Gordon$Brown,then$opposiXon$leader$David$Cameron,$former$Prime$Minister$Tony$Blair$before$returning$to$Chicago.$In$allthese$discussions$he$focused$on$the$importance$of$strengthening$our$alliances$and$in$each$and$every$leg$of the$trip$outlined$specific$foreign$policy$ideas$that$have$shaped$the$policies$that$I’ve$said$earlier$he$pursued$asPresident$of$the$United$States,$whether$that$was$ending$the$war$in$Iraq,$increasing$our$presence$inAfghanistan$and$crushing$Al$Qaeda,$or$protecXng$Israel’s$security.$We$traveled$with$a$group$of$about$forty$reporters.$We$did$press$conferences$I$menXoned$in$Jordan$andFrance,$did$a$press$avail$in$Israel,$we$sat$down$with$the$three$network$news$anchors$for$their$broadcastsduring$parts$of$the$trip,$did$segments$on$Meet$the$Press$and$Face$the$NaXon$as$well$as$interviews$with$CNNand$Fox.$I$think$at$the$end$of$that$trip$the$American$people$knew$exactly$where$Barack$Obama$stood$on$allthe$major$foreign$policy$issues$of$the$day.$The$quesXon$I$think$for$governor$Romney$is$whether$this$trip$will$besimilarly$substanXve,$and$live$up$to$the$bar$that$was$set$in$2008,$or$whether$this$is$one$long$photo\op$andfundraising$tour.$It$will$be$interesXng$if$he$will$confront$these$issues$on$his$first$stop$in$London$when$he$meetswith$David$Cameron$to$discuss,$I$presume,$things$such$as$Afghanistan.$To$talk$about$some$of$the$specifics$along$the$way$of$this$trip$let$me$turn$over$to$Michele$Flournoy,$obviouslythe$former$undersecretary$of$the$defense$for$policy.$Michele?$
MICHELE!FLOURNOY,!FORMER!UNDER!SECRETARY!OF!DEFENSE!FOR!POLICY!JJ!
Thanks,$Robert.$I’m$glad$to$beon$the$call$with$all$of$you.$I$think$the$record$has$been$very$clear$that$since$the$president’s$elecXon,$he$hasbeen$successful$in$revitalizing$our$alliances,$especially$in$Europe.$And$has$strengthened$the$US$leadershipposiXon$globally.$The$US$and$the$UK$and$President$Obama$and$Prime$Minister$Cameron$have$a$very$close$relaXonship.$I$thinkit’s$fair$to$say$that$we’re$in$lockstep$on$every$major$foreign$policy$issue.$The$focus$on$alliances$is$not$justbecause$they’re$nice$to$have,$it’s$because$they’re$so$criXcal$to$addressing$the$kinds$of$challenges$we$face$in$avery$dynamic$and$complex$environment.$Alliances$are$a$force\mulXplier$whether$it’s$in$Afghanistan$and$Libya
FW: TRANSCRIPT: Press Call on Mitt Romneys Trip to the U...https://nycowa2.timeinc.com/owa/?ae=Item&t=IPM.Note&id...3 of 97/23/12 3:03 PM

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