WASHINGTON — With a Republican opponent all but chosen and the general election campaign about to start, President Obama is preparing to emphasize an issue that few Democratic candidates have embraced in the past: national security, long the domain of the Republican Party.
Bush: cowboy diplomacy, the Iraq war and America’s lowest standing on the international stage.
In the coming weeks, Obama advisers plan to release a list of national security “surrogates” — high-profile Democrats like former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and Wesley K. Clark, a retired general — who will write newspaper op-ed articles, give speeches and take Mr. Romney to task every time he opens his mouth about foreign policy, Obama advisers said.
The plan is to draw a contrast between Mr. Obama — who, his advisers say, kept his word on ending the Iraq war, going aggressively after Al Qaeda and restoring alliances around the world — and Mr. Romney, who will be portrayed as playing both sides of numerous issues.
“He was for and against the removal of Qaddafi, for and against setting a timetable to withdraw our troops from Afghanistan, for and against enforcing trade laws against China, and while he once said he would not move heaven and earth to get Osama bin Laden, he later claimed that any president would have authorized the mission to do so,” said Ben LaBolt, press secretary for the Obama campaign.
The more aggressive posture is a break from the past, when Democrats on the national stage battled against the perception that the party was not as committed as Republicans were to a strong defense and an aggressive response to terrorism. Mr. Obama himself, during the 2008 campaign, drew criticism from both Republicans and his primary opponent, Hillary Rodham Clinton, for what they called his naïveté, particularly over his willingness to talk, without preconditions, to American foes like Iran.
But Mr. Obama’s victory that year over Senator John McCain, a Vietnam War hero, was in part a result of an electorate weary from years of combat in Afghanistan and Iraq. Now, with a record that includes winding down the Iraq war and killing Bin Laden, coupled with the success of the military strikes in Libya and the removal ...
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