Earlier this year, presumptive Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney called President Obama “extraordinarily naive” for putting a timetable of transferring control of Afghanistan to the country’s security forces by the end of 2014.
On Tuesday, speaking at the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ annual meeting, he said that “as president, my goal in Afghanistan will be to complete a successful transition to Afghan security forces by the end of 2014.”
Isn’t that the same as Mr. Obama’s plan? No, Romney senior adviser Kevin Madden said Wednesday.
“They set a calendar date for the sake of setting a calendar date for pulling the troops out,” Mr. Madden said on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown. “Governor Romney’s important distinction was that we want to turn over the power to the Afghan security forces when they’re ready and consistent with the advice and the counsel that is given from commanders on the ground…a security situation is what’s going to dictate that turnover of power to those Afghan security forces.”
“[Mr. Romney] mentioned the date as a goal to turn over to Afghan security forces, but not as a political calendar — instead, a calendar for securing the situation there,” Mr. Madden continued. “I think the president put the premium on the calendar, where Governor Romney is putting a premium on the situation on the ground.”