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American presidential hopefuls tear into Obama's policies

Last updated on: December 16, 2011 12:07 IST

Republican debate takes apart Obama's foreign policy

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United States President Barack Obama came under attack from leading Republican presidential candidates over what they called his "weak" foreign policy as they vowed to revamp the country's foreign policy if voted to power in the 2012 polls.

The Republican presidential candidates were particularly harsh on Obama's policy with regard to Iran, in particular the manner in which his administration has handled the drone issue.


Image: Republican presidential candidates (L-R), former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum, Texas Governor Rick Perry, former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, Representative Ron Paul (R-TX), Representative Michele Bachmann (R-MN), and former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman participate in a Republican presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa, December 15, 2011
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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'A foreign policy based on pretty please?'

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This is a president with the spy drone being brought down, he says pretty please? A foreign policy based on pretty please? You got to be kidding," said Mitt Romney, a leading Republican presidential candidate, during a presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa on Thursday.

"This is a president who fundamentally believes that -- this next century is the post-American century.     Perhaps it's going to be the Chinese century. He's wrong. It has to be the American century. America has to lead the free world. And the free world has to lead the entire world," he asserted.

Romney argued that the course, under President Obama's plans, "is to shrink our military, thinking somehow if we appease or accommodate the tyrants of the world, that the world will be safer. He's wrong," Romney argued.


Image: Former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney (L) and former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA) at the Iowa debate
Photographs: REUTERS/Jim Young

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'The most muddled foreign policy in my lifetime'

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Romney was joined by Texas Governor Rick Perry who said, "This administration has absolutely bungled. It is the most muddled foreign policy that I can ever remember in my lifetime," said during a presidential debate in Sioux City, Iowa.

"Now we've seen this president asking the Iranians to give us back that drone. What we should have done was one of two things: We either destroy it, or we retrieve it. He took a third route, which was the worst and the weakest, and that is to do nothing," Perry said amidst a round of applause.


Image: Rick Perry
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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'Obama was given victory on a silver platter in Iraq'

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Congresswoman Mitchelle Bachmann too left no stones unturned in attacking President Obama.

"The biggest mistake that President Obama has made – and there are many when it comes to foreign policy -- has been the decision that he made regarding Iraq.

"He was essentially given, on a silver platter, victory in Iraq. And he's choosing intentionally to lose the peace," she alleged.

Bachmann added, "Look no further than the Iranian constitution, which states unequivocally that their mission is to extend jihad across the world and eventually to set up a worldwide caliphate. We would be fools and knaves to ignore their purpose and their plan."


Image: Mitchell Bachman
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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'We are weak, this economy is broken'

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The former US Ambassador to China, Jon Huntsman, said the United States needs a new foreign policy.

"We're still trapped a little bit in the Cold War-George Kennan mindset. I want to make sure that, first and foremost, we have a foreign policy and a national security strategy that recognises that we have to fix our core here at home. We're weak. This economy is broken," he said.

Huntsman said the US under his presidency would adopt a foreign policy that is driven by economics first.

"It used to break my heart sitting in the embassy in Beijing, looking at Afghanistan with a hundred thousand troops. We're securing the place, and the Chinese go in, and they win the mining concession. There's something wrong with that picture. We need to change the way we're doing business overseas," he argued.


Image: Jon Huntsman
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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'This president has so screwed up this economy, nobody is coming anymore'

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The Republican presidential candidates also vowed to revamp the flawed immigration system of the country, in particular the legal immigration, with one noting that half of the Fortune 500 companies in US were founded by immigrants.

"In terms of immigration and illegal immigration, this president has so screwed up this economy, nobody is coming anymore," Huntsman said during the Iowa debate.

"But let's not lose sight of the fact that legal immigration is an engine of growth for this country. Half of the Fortune 500 companies in this country today were founded by immigrants... Our visa system is so screwed up in this nation," Huntsman said responding to questions on immigration system.

He added, "You've got to completely remake the way that people are moving back and forth, our H-1B visa system, how we're dealing with movement of people, how we're dealing with immigration. This is an economic development opportunity, and we are missing it."


Image: US Representative Ron Paul (R-TX)
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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People who've come here illegally, you must get at the back of the line'

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Romney proposed a identity card for all the immigrants. "We'd have a card, little plastic card, bio-information on it. Individuals who come here legally have that card, and when they apply for a job, they're able to show that to the employer," he said.

"My view is, people who've come here illegally, we welcome you to apply, but you must get at the back of the line, because there are millions of people who are in line right now that want to come here legally; I want those to come here legally. Those that are here illegally have to get in line with everybody else," Romney said.

Gingrich said the just introduced IDEA Act would in fact reinforce this model, because it would take away all tax deductibility for anyone who is employed illegally.

"Once you have something like e- Verify effectively working, you really build a big sanction," he said, adding, "We disagree some on what you do with very, very long-term people here. I think somebody who's been here 25 years and has family here and has local family supporting them ought to have some kind of civilian certification."

He said on the issue of immigration, "On day one I would drop all the lawsuits against Arizona, South Carolina and Alabama. It is wrong for the government."


Image: Former US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich (R-GA)
Photographs: REUTERS/Eric Gay/Pool

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