On CBS’ Face the Nation Sunday morning, host Bob Schieffer spoke with guest Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee, about the situation in Ukraine and President Obama’s response to it. Romney was highly critical of Obama’s handling of Russia’s actions in particular, noting “the president’s naiveté with regards to Russia, as well as the president’s “faulty judgment about Russia’s intentions and objectives.”
Schieffer began the interview by reminding Romney of his previous comments about Russia, which came up during one of the presidential debates in 2012.
“During the campaign, and I want to start with this, you took a lot of heat for saying that Russia was our greatest geopolitical foe. In the third debate, the president came down pretty hard on you about that,” Schieffer began.
After playing a video clip of that portion of the aforementioned debate, Schieffer asked Romney his thoughts on the situation today.
“I’m sure, Governor, you’re tempted this morning to say, “I told you so.” But do you really believe that what happened in Ukraine had anything to do with what President Obama has or hasn’t done?” Schieffer asked.
Romney’s response was critical of Obama’s handling of the situation in Ukraine, and more specifically, the president’s assessment of Russia’s intentions.
“Well, there’s no question but that the president’s naiveté with regards to Russia, and his faulty judgment about Russia’s intentions and objectives, has led to a number of foreign policy challenges that we face,“ Romney said. “And unfortunately, not having anticipated Russia’s intentions, the president wasn’t able to shape the kinds of events that may have been able to prevent the kinds of circumstances that you’re seeing in the Ukraine, as well as the things that you’re seeing in Syria.”
“We really need to understand that Russia has very different interests than ours. This is not Fantasyland, this is reality where they are a geopolitical adversary. They’re not our enemy, but they are certainly an adversary on the world stage.”
Throughout the course of the interview, Romney emphasized that the administration could have anticipated Russia’s actions regarding Crimea and a strong message and clear threat of sanctions should have been communicated to Russia far earlier.
When Schieffer asked Romney about the current sanctions and how we could have done anything earlier, Romney elaborated.
“Well, let’s step back. I think effective leaders typically are able to see the future to a certain degree, and then try to take actions to shape it in some way,” Romney said. “And that’s of course what this president has failed to do, and his Secretary of State Hillary Clinton as well. They thought resetting relations with Russia, handing out gifts to Russia, would somehow make Russia change its objectives. Well, that certainly wasn’t the case.”
Full transcript available at CBS News.
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