For months now, Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign has overwhelmingly focused on the economy. But as he geared up his candidacy a couple of years ago, Romney opened with an argument heavy on foreign policy. In March 2010, for instance, he published No Apology: The Case for American Greatness, a campaign stage-setter largely based on the idea that Barack Obama was allowing America to slip into decline while bowing and caving to global rivals like China, Russia and Iran. It wasn’t until the recovery sputtered and Obama scored a string of foreign policy successes that Romney adopted a monomaniacal focus on the jobs picture.
But some Republicans remain convinced that they can score points against Obama on foreign policy. And now, in the wake of Obama’s open-mic comment to Russian president Dmitri Medvedev that he can show “more flexibility” on missile defense and other issues after the November election, Romney seems to be reviving his earlier line of attack. Romney pounced on the comment Monday, calling it “an alarming and troubling development” that suggests Obama is “not telling us what he’s intending to do” on various key foreign policy matters. Later in the day he delivered a surprisingly harsh assessment of Russia as “without question our number one geopolitical foe,” a perhaps defensible position when you consider questions like U.N. Security Council vetoes, but still a tough one to square with his past remarks about Iran. (For example: “Right now, the greatest danger that America faces and the world faces is a nuclear Iran.”)