Vice President Joseph R. Biden, settling into his role as the president's campaign attack dog, blasted Republican Mitt Romney on Thursday for embracing what Mr. Biden said were dangerous unilateral foreign-policy views that would lead the United States into more wars.
In a speech at New York University, Mr. Biden said the presumptive GOP presidential nominee sees the world "through a Cold War prism." He said Mr. Romney's views would "isolate America" and "waste hundreds of billions of dollars and risk thousands of American lives on an unnecessary war."
"Americans know that we cannot afford to go back to the future," Mr. Biden said. "Back to a foreign policy that would have America go it alone, shout to the world you're either with us or against us, lash out first and ask the hard questions later, if at all."
The vice president's address was the latest in a series of attempts by the Obama campaign to link Mr. Romney, the former Massachusetts governor, to the policies of former President George W. Bush, who launched the Iraq War in 2003.
The speech also signaled that, while Mr. Romney has put the struggling U.S. economy at the center of his campaign, foreign policy and defense issues will also be aired on the campaign trail this year.
Mr. Biden, who once served as chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, sought to remind voters of the unpopularity of the Bush administration's foreign policy, which contributed to Mr. Obama's victory in 2008.
"Gov. Romney is counting on our collective amnesia," Mr. Biden said.
And reminding voters that Mr. Obama made the decision to attack Osama bin Laden in a hide-out in Pakistan, Mr. Biden questioned whether Mr. Romney would have had the resolve to take the same action.
Linking the mission to Mr. Obama's efforts — opposed by Mr. Romney — to bail out troubled U.S. automakers with taxpayer money, Mr. Biden reiterated that the Obama administration's campaign bumper sticker could be, "Osama bin Laden is dead, and General Motors is alive."
"If Gov. Romney had been president, could he have used the same slogan in reverse?"
A foreign-policy adviser to the Romney campaign, Pierre Prosper, countered that it is the Obama administration that has squandered U.S. leadership in the world.
"They seem content to watch from the sidelines as events go past," said Mr. Prosper, a former State Department official. "America has lost its voice."
John Lehman, Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, accused Mr. Obama of "a gross abdication of leadership" that could have dangerous consequences.
Mr. Romney is campaigning on a promise to keep the nation safer than Mr. Obama, arguing that the administration's foreign policy is naive.
The Republican National Committee criticized Mr. Biden's speech for glossing over the administration's real record on foreign policy.
"It's clear Biden has amnesia about the Obama administration's foreign-policy failures, whether it's alienating allies like Israel, the failed Russia 'reset,' and emboldening adversaries like Iran and Syria that seek to undermine our nation's security. America can't afford four more years of leading from behind from President Obama," said the RNC's Kirsten Kukowski.
Mr. Biden spent most of his address quoting statements by Mr. Romney from past years and taking them apart. For example, he cited Mr. Romney's comment in March that "without question, our No. 1 geopolitical foe is Russia."
"Gov. Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset," Mr. Biden said. "Gov. Romney was part of a very small group of Cold War holdovers who never met an arms-control treaty that he likes. He was way out of the mainstream in this issue."
He defended the Obama administration's foreign policy in detail, and likened it to former President Teddy Roosevelt's axiom to "speak softly and carry a big stick.
"I promise you the president has a big stick. I promise you," Mr. Biden said.
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