Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright on Monday dismissed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney's major speech on foreign policy as mostly platitudes and little substance.

Speaking at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington earlier on Monday, Romney had criticized President Barack Obama's Middle East policy of using "hope" and "passivity" as a strategy. He falsely asserted that the "president has not signed one new free trade agreement in the past four years." And the former Massachusetts governor also made passing mention of Latin America, Russia and Asia.

In a conference call with reporters following the speech, Albright said that the event left her more confused because Romney had supported intervention in Libya and now he was against it, and he had changed positions on arming the opposition in Syria.

"There's an awful lot of rhetoric and things, but when you get to the specifics you don't get the sense that he knows exactly what tools to use and how to operate within an international setting," the former secretary explained. "I know the people that are around Gov. Romney and a lot of them are kind of division of neocons and [some are] even more conservative and some realists. But the truth is, a lot of them are exactly the people that brought us the previous administration's -- Bush's administration's -- eight years. And we're still dealing with the consequences of that."

She added that the speech was "full of platitudes and free of substance. You know, 'peace through strength, clarity, resolve.' Those aren't really foreign policies."

Albright pointed out that Romney was "dead wrong" to claim that Obama had not signed any free trade agreements because the president had signed three: with Panama, Columbia and South Korea.

"This is kind of typical of what the Romney campaign does, is kind of assert something that is simply not true," she said, later speculating that "he doesn't read his briefing papers."

"I just find him very shallow in the ideas that he has."

[Photo: Rena Schild /]