Obama schools Romney on the fact that we have “fewer horses and bayonets.”
— by David A. Harris
President Obama’s statements of unequivocal support for Israel tonight — including his commitment to stand by Israel if it is attacked by Iran — is just the latest demonstration of this President’s rock-solid commitment to the Jewish state and its security. His words speak for themselves, and indeed they speak so powerfully that all Governor Mitt Romney could do was chime in with a quiet ‘me too’ reply. In fact, Governor Romney tonight just continued to mislead the American people about President Obama’s record — especially concerning Israel and Iran. For pro-Israel voters, only one candidate in this race has a proven record when it comes to standing up for Israel’s security, and those voters were reminded of that tonight. President Obama showed — in this exchange, and throughout the evening — why and how he has stewarded the U.S.-Israel relationship and the effort to halt Iran so powerfully and with maturity, seriousness and confidence over the past four years.
Rush transcript of Obama’s remarks (emphasis added):
PRESIDENT OBAMA: Well, first of all, Israel is a true friend, it is our greatest ally in the region, and if Israel is attacked, America will stand with Israel. I have made that clear throughout my presidency.
MODERATOR BOB SCHIEFFER: So you are saying-you have already made that declaration?
PRESIDENT OBAMA: I will stand with Israel if they are attacked, and this is the reason why, working with Israel we have created the strongest military and intelligence cooperation between our two countries in history.
In fact, this week we will be carrying out the largest military exercise with Israel in history, this very week, but to the issue of Iran, as long as I’m President of the United States, Iran will not get a nuclear weapon. I made that clear when I came into office. We then organized the strongest coalition and the strongest sanctions against Iran in history, and it is crippling their economy. Their currency has dropped 80 percent. Their oil production has plunged to the lowest level since they were fighting a war with Iraq 20 years ago. So their economy is in a shambles. And the reason we did this is because a nuclear Iran is a threat to our national security and it’s a threat to Israel’s national security.
We cannot afford to have a nuclear arms race in the most volatile region of the world. Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism, and for them to be able to provide nuclear technology to non-state actors, that’s unacceptable. And they have said that they want to see Israel wiped off the map. So the work that we’ve done with respect to sanctions now offers Iran a choice. They can take the diplomatic route and end their nuclear program or they will have to face a united world and a United States President, me, who said we’re not going to take any options off the table.
The disagreement I have with Governor Romney is that during the course of this campaign he has often talked as if we should take premature military action. I think that would be a mistake because when I sent young men and women into harm’s way, I always understand that that is the last resort, not the first resort.