“Foreign policy has become a character issue”

Part of the discussion may be about President George W. Bush’s foreign policy and Romney’s take on its various initiatives. During the second debate, Romney distanced himself from aspects of the Bush administration, and Romney’s policy advisers expect him to be pressed on this topic again. “He doesn’t have to defend the Bush record,” Bolton says. “What he can do is pinpoint how many things the Obama administration has adopted. [Guantanamo Bay] is still open, and there is a long list of other things they’ve validated, including drone strikes on American citizens who have taken up with al-Qaeda or other terrorist groups.”

Bolton predicts that Romney will argue more, however, about the Obama administration’s failures, from its handling of the Arab Spring to its handling of the U.S.-Israeli relationship. “It’s going to be a very sharp contrast in their respective views of America’s place in the world,” Bolton says…

During debate prep, Romney has spent time honing his approach. Unlike the economic debate, where he could wield data as weapons, Romney will have to make a broader case against President Obama’s foreign policy, mixing up examples of bureaucratic incompetence with larger questions. “Foreign policy has become a character issue,” Sununu says. “People are realizing that whenever you hear about foreign policy, you’re getting dishonesty out of the White House.

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