Friday, February 23, 2007

Romney Zeroes In On Hillary

At a campaign event in South Carolina yesterday, Mitt Romney spoke at length on Iran, criticizing Clinton for "a lack of understanding" in advocating engagement with Iran. I'm wondering if the strategy is to provoke Clinton in some way on this issue. Instigating an Obama-Clinton-like public debate with Clinton on Iran would be a dream scenario for Romney in my mind. It would allow him to burnish his foreign policy credentials while opposing someone who is a pretty polarizing figure among his Republican base. It is to this end I think Romney is circulating a letter he wrote Clinton and several other New York politicians calling for them to "launch a policy of strategic disinvestment from companies linked to the Iranian regime."

I can't find the full text of his remarks yesterday, but the Globe quotes him as saying: "You don't want to reward bad behavior. . . . We want to squeeze the pressure on that country and get them on the right track. . . . We don't want to give a signal of support or accomplishment to someone like [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad."

The Globe also noted what it saw as an implied shot at Giuliani and McCain: "Romney's wife, Ann, played a particularly prominent role last night, as Romney made a special effort to highlight the fact that he's been married to the same woman for almost 40 years. "She's been the person behind me all my life," Romney said. Left unsaid: His chief Republican rivals, Senator John McCain of Arizona and Rudy Giuliani, former New York mayor , have each divorced at least once."

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