WASHINGTON – Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney raised questions
about US President Barack Obama’s approach to foreign leaders Wednesday after he
won three primaries and moved closer to clinching the GOP
Speaking to the Newspaper Association of America the day
after he prevailed in the Wisconsin, Maryland and District of Columbia votes,
Romney attacked Obama for having been caught on a live microphone last week
telling Russian President Dmitry Medvedev that he would have “more flexibility”
to deal with controversial issues like missile defense after the November
Calling the comment “deeply troubling,” Romney charged that
“that incident calls his candor into serious question.”
does President Obama intend to do differently once he is no longer accountable
to the voters?” Romney asked.
“Why does ‘flexibility’ with foreign
leaders require less accountability to the American people?”
has made clear his intentions on missile defense both in word and deed,” a
source close to the Obama campaign hit back. “This administration has a strong
national security record that illustrates an understanding of today’s military
and security threats.”
The source continued, “The real question is what
kind of commander-in-chief Mitt Romney would be when he still believes Russia is
our number one foe, showing a real lack of understanding of what the world looks
Following Obama’s exchange with Medvedev last week, Romney
had criticized Obama for the assurances he had offered “our number one
geopolitical foe.” Obama personally increased the heat on Romney Tuesday,
for the first time attacking the GOP challenger directly by name.
lambasting of Romney for his backing of the Republican draft budget was a sign
that the president sees the former Massachusetts governor as his key competitor
and the GOP primaries as heading toward the finish line.
Romney’s main opponent, Rick Santorum, has vowed to stay in the race and spent
Wednesday appealing to voters in his home state of Pennsylvania, where he once
served as senator. Pennsylvania holds its presidential primary on April
But Romney’s triple win on Tuesday helped him consolidate his lead
and gave him an overwhelming advantage in delegates.
Romney now has 652
to Santorum’s 269. Former speaker of the US House Newt Gingrich is next with 140
and Texas Representative Ron Paul is last with 67.
prevailed in most cases among groups that have been seen as his weakest
constituencies: Evangelicals, strong conservatives and Tea Party
According to exit polls, Romney swept all three
constituencies in Maryland, and took strong conservatives and Tea Party
supporters in Wisconsin as well. He did lose among Wisconsin evangelicals to
Rick Santorum, but only by 4 percent.
Romney’s focus during his Tuesday
night victory speech and Wednesday address was squarely on Obama and the general
election in November.