Mitt Romney was criticized across the aisle for not specifically mentioning the war in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech at the RNC. He did, however, mention the the military in more general terms:
"His trillion dollar cuts to our military will eliminate hundreds of thousands of jobs, and also put our security at greater risk. ... Everywhere I go, there are monuments ... for those who have given their lives for America. There is no mention of their race, their party affiliation, or what they did for a living. (APPLAUSE) They lived and died under a single flag, fighting for a single purpose. ... [T]hat united America will preserve a military that's so strong no nation will ever dare to test it."
While Romney responded to those criticisms in an interview Friday with Fox News’ Bret Baier, he explains his position again during a Meet the Press interview with David Gregory that will air tonight. A sneak peak reveals:
GREGORY: "Let me turn to foreign policy ... The Weekly Standard took you to task in your convention speech for not mentioning the war in Afghanistan one time. Was that a mistake, with so much sacrifice in two wars over the period of this last decade?"
ROMNEY: "You know, I find it interesting that people are curious about mentioning words in a speech as opposed to policy. And so I went to the American Legion the day before I gave that speech."
GREGORY: "You weren't talking to tens of millions of people, Governor, when you went to the American Legion."
ROMNEY: "You know, what I've found is that wherever I go, I am speaking to tens of millions of people. Everything I say is picked up by you and by others, and that's the way it ought to be. So I went to the American Legion and spoke with our veterans there, and described my policy as it relates to Afghanistan and other foreign policy and our military. I've been to Afghanistan, and the members of our troops know of my commitment to Afghanistan and to the effort that's going on there. I have some differences on policy with the president. I happen to think those are more important than what word I mention in each speech."
On the one hand the acceptance speech is not a SOTU address and need not, as he said in the interview with Baier, be a “laundry list.” On the other hand, however, he could have easily mentioned them more specifically without the speech turning into an interminable event like Clinton’s. That being said, just because he mentioned the military more generally rather than using specific words - ‘troops’ and ‘Afghanistan’ - doesn’t mean his commitment and concern for them has enervated. Romney and Ryan’s focus on the sequestration cuts to defense shows that. On Saturday, Romney spoke about defense at the Military Aviation Museum in Norfolk, Virginia, promising to restore the proposed defense cuts and rebuild America’s military might. In the interview with Gregory he also speaks about the cuts and the president missing the legal deadline for giving Congress a report outlining how those cuts will be implemented.