By Jeff Mason
NEW YORK (Reuters) - Vice President Joe Biden will paint Mitt Romney's foreign policy vision on Thursday as backward-looking and tied to George W. Bush, the Democrat's latest effort to define the presumptive Republican presidential nominee as out of touch with Americans.
U.S. President Barack Obama's campaign has unleashed Biden as a virtual attack dog on Romney over economic issues, but his speech on Thursday will be the first to target the former Massachusetts governor on foreign policy.
In excerpts released ahead of time by the Obama campaign, Biden touts Obama's national security successes while suggesting Romney would return to an era of go-it-alone bravado on the international stage.
"Governor Romney is counting on our collective amnesia, but Americans know that we cannot afford to go back to the future," Biden says, according to the excerpts.
"Back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone ... shout to the world you're either with us or against us ... lash out first and ask the hard questions later, if at all ... isolate America instead of our enemies," Biden says.
Though Bush's name is not mentioned - at least in the quotes released early - the implication is clear: Obama's campaign wants to portray Romney as tied intricately to a man who launched two unpopular wars and presided over an economy that sputtered badly at the end of his term in office.
"Governor Romney's national security policy would return us to the past we have worked so hard to move beyond," Biden says.
"In this regard, it is no different than what Governor Romney has proposed for our economy - taking us back to the failed policies that got us into the mess President Obama has dug us out of."
Romney, in turn, has described Obama as weak on foreign policy, especially when dealing with U.S. foes such as North Korea and Iran.
Romney's campaign planned a conference call on Thursday to rebut Biden and discuss Obama's "failed foreign policy."
Though the economy is expected to be the defining issue of the 2012 election, Obama's advisers see his record on foreign policy as a strength. Ending the war in Iraq and severely weakening al Qaeda are among the accomplishments that the campaign sees as unimpeachable victories.
"If you are looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden says.
(Editing by Paul Simao)