Republican Mitt Romney, considering whether to run for president a third time, on Wednesday will take aim at President Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy and by extension, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading Democratic candidate.
Romney is to give an early evening speech at Mississippi State University in Starkville, Mississippi, that will likely add to the speculation surrounding a potential presidential bid.
The speech will delve into Obama’s struggle to contain Islamic militants in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere and criticize his refusal to say that the current battle is against “radical Islam.”.
“I don’t know how the president expects to defeat the jihadists if he won’t even call them what they are,” Romney will say.
Romney will also accuse Obama of giving short shrift to the battle against Islamic State in his State of the Union speech, saying it was “naive at best and deceptive at worst.”
The White House has declined to describe the militancy movement as radical Islam to make clear the U.S. fight is not against the religion of Islam itself.
Romney will also target Clinton in his remarks. She is the overwhelming favorite to be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016 should she decide to run.
She “cluelessly pressed a reset button” in U.S. relations with Russia, which did not work, Romney will say, because Moscow proceeded to invade Ukraine.
And he will assail her declaration to an audience last October not to let anyone tell them that “it’s corporations and businesses that create jobs.” Clinton disavowed the remark soon after.
“How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” Romney will say.
Romney is to decide in a matter of weeks whether to seek the presidency again. If he does, advisers say, he will run a different kind of campaign than last time, including more of a focus on the plight of people living in poverty.
The wealthy former private equity executive was damaged in his 2012 campaign when a videotape was leaked of him saying that 47 percent of Americans were dependent on government benefits and would not support him.
“For fifty years and with trillions of dollars, Washington has fought the war on poverty with failed liberal policies. They haven’t made any headway whatsoever,” he will say.
(Reporting By Steve Holland; Editing by Christian Plumb)