Kerry slams Romney on Israel at DNC convention

"When it comes to Israel, I'll take the word of Israel's PM over Mitt Romney any day," the senator tells Democratic Convention.

By HILARY LEILA KRIEGER, JPOST CORRESPONDENT
September 7, 2012 05:25
3 minute read.
Sen. John Kerry at the Democratic Convention

Sen. John Kerry at the Democratic Convention 370 (R). (photo credit: Jason Reed / Reuters)

 
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CHARLOTTE, North Carolina -- Massachusetts Senator John Kerry, who was the one receiving the Democratic presidential nomination in 2004, took to the stage Thursday night to blast Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on foreign policy on the final day of the Democratic National Convention.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, rumored to be under consideration for secretary of state in a second Obama administration, ripped the GOP for having "lied" time and again about the president's stance on Israel.

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"Barack Obama promised always to stand with Israel, to tighten sanctions on Iran -- and take nothing off the table," Kerry said.

He quoted Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to bolster his case, referencing the prime minister's words that the two countries have the same policy and that security cooperation has been unprecedented under the current administration.

Then Kerry delivered one of the many zingers he directed at Romney throughout his speech: "When it comes to Israel, I'll take the word of Israel's prime minister over Mitt Romney any day."

In another dig, he called the "extreme and expedient" Romney and his vice presidential running-mate Paul Ryan "the most inexperienced foreign policy twosome to run for president and vice president in decades."

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And he parried the question Republicans repeatedly asked at their convention last week in Tampa -- are you better off now than you were four years ago -- with the line: "Ask Osama bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago!"

Kerry also took aim at the "neocon advisors" Romney has included among his foreign policy team.

"He would rely on them -- after all, he's the great outsourcer," he said.
The Republican convention repeatedly touched on the theme of American exceptionalism, as GOP politicians argued that Obama didn't understand America's special opportunities and role in the world.

Kerry responded to Romney's assertion that he would restore American exceptionalism by declaring that he had news for him: "We already have an exceptional American as president."

The Romney campaign, anticipating that Kerry would be delivering a speech devoted to foreign policy, released a memo attacking Obama on 10 foreign policy areas earlier Thursday evening.

"Failure #1," the memo charges, "no results in slowing or stopping Iran’s nuclear weapons program."

It points to the increase in enrichment activities and spinning centrifuges while Obama has been in office. And it berates him for not more strenuously supporting opposition groups challenging the Iranian government and fruitlessly pursuing engagement.

It also charges that the administration "has given the Iranians no reason to believe it is serious about a military option."

Instead, the memo contends, it "seems to have devoted more energy toward preventing an Israeli strike on Iran than toward preventing an Iranian nuclear weapons capability."

The memo devotes a second section to a "damaged" relationship with Israel and a "moribund" peace process. The campaign particularly jumped on Obama for "deriding" Netanyahu during a conversation with then French President Nicholas Sarkozy caught on an open microphone.

In one of the more touching moments of the convention Thursday night, Gabrielle Giffords took the stage to deliver the pledge of allegiance.

Walking slowly to the podium, she led an ecstatic audience in the 31-word oath. The Jewish former congresswoman, who was shot by a crazed gunmen while meeting with her Arizona constituents one-and-a-half years ago, left the stage to chants of "Gabbie! Gabbie!"

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