WASHINGTON - Republican Mitt Romney chided President Barack Obama on Wednesday for playing down "the threat" posed by Venezuela's Hugo Chavez as he sought to portray the Democrat as soft on national security, an issue that may resonate with Latino voters in November's election.
Romney was reacting to remarks Obama made to a Spanish language television station that Chavez's actions over recent years had "not had a serious national security impact" on America.
"This is a stunning and shocking comment by the president. It is disturbing to see him downplaying the threat posed to US interests by a regime that openly wishes us ill," Romney said in a statement. "President Obama's remarks continue a pattern of weakness in his foreign policy, one that has emboldened adversaries and diminished US influence."