"I think Putin has outperformed our president time and time again on the world stage"

Romney, the Republican nominee who lost the 2012 election to Obama, cited the examples of Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad and National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, now living under political asylum in Russia.

“We are, and I’ve said this before, geopolitical adversaries” with Russia, Romney told NBC’s Peter Alexander. “Not enemies but adversaries geopolitically. And Putin lines up with Assad and gave Assad the cover that he needed and won a diplomatic battle with regards to Syria.”

Romney, who is doing interviews in connection with a new documentary about his presidential campaign, also said Putin “likewise keeps Edward Snowden as a bit of a stick in the eye at America. And I think most observers of the international political scene suggest that Russia has elevated itself in stature and America has been diminished.”