debate performance: Romney flip-flops on Iran—again!—how many positions can one man have on the issue of Iran?
“Jim, Mitt Romney was asked if he thought the president would need congressional approval before striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, and Romney’s exact words were “let the lawyers sort that out.” Then he repeated that phrase when Matthews asked him AGAIN. Each time he said it very fast and jumped the subject to something more palatable to the audience. He’s a curdled skank,” writes the eloquent Karen DeCoster for LRC Blog’s BREAKING NEWS in a post titled “let the lawyers sort that out”
race42008.com provides a transcript and notes on context in a Justin Hart post titled Romney on Iran Hypothetical—we have no idea what that strange title is supposed to mean. This is Byron York’s transcript of Romney’s “gotta-check-with-the-lawyers answer on Iran,” available in an NRO The Corner post titled Romney and the Lawyers:
MATTHEWS: Governor Romney…if you were president of the United States, would you need to go to Congress to get authorization to take military action against Iran’s nuclear facilities?
ROMNEY: You sit down with your attorneys and tell you what you have to do, but obviously the president of the United States has to do what’s in the best interest of the United States to protect us against a potential threat. The president did that as he was planning on moving into Iraq and received the authorization of Congress…
MATTHEWS: Did he need it?
ROMNEY: You know, we’re going to let the lawyers sort out what he needed to do and what he didn’t need to do. But, certainly, what you want to do is to have the agreement of all the people — leadership of our government as well as our friends around the world where those circumstances are available … more
Mark Hemingway glosses York’s transcript in an NRO The Corner post titled The Wrap-Up:
—Upon reflection, Byron’s transcript helped put Romney’s “First, kill all the terrorists and let the lawyers sort ’em out” answer about where to derive National Security authority in a better light. But it’s still mindbogglingly awful … more [emphasis ours]
We concur. But what interests us is Romney’s personal evolution on the issue of Iran.
First, Romney issues this scarily confused policy formula:
” … there’s no question, says Romney, that people understand that the reason that we have the thousands upon thousands of nuclear warheads we have is that we intend to protect ourselves. And I would never shrink from protecting the American nation, the American people, nor shrink from retaliation if somebody used something as awful as a nuclear device. We will be safe.”
We interrogate the Romney Doctrine in a post titled Romney dangerously confused on issues of deterrence and defense
Second, Romney experiences a rare moment of lucidity, retreats from the Romney Doctrine, and issues a redaction of the Bush doctrine. See: Romney retreats from the Romney doctrine; now recapitulates the Bush doctrine
Third, Romney issues his 5 bullet point powerpoint slide plan, his favoured means of expression. See: Mulhern: Romney’s “5 point plan” for Iran is “drivel.” He also continues to grandstand: the reviews are in: Romney’s “grandstanding” about Ahmadinejad ineffective, counterproductive
Now, Romney retreats yet further. He wants to call his lawyer. What leadership. What stern resolve. What presence of mind. What moral courage. Translation: What a mess!
Dear, dear precious little Willard Milton Romney. Please take a stand, will you?—i.e. please develop in advance a position that you can defend with consistency, or at least with a straight face.