- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mitt Romney said Sunday that the United States’ international esteem has declined during President Obama’s five years in the White House.

“You look over the past five years and say, ‘What’s happened?’ Good things have not been bursting out all over,” the former Republican presidential nominee said in an interview with Bob Schieffer on CBS’s “Face the Nation.”

Mr. Romney, who lost to Mr. Obama in 2012, said the Middle East is in “turmoil” while Iraq and Afghanistan are becoming less stable.

“Our esteem around the world has fallen,” Mr. Romney said. “I can’t think of a major country — it’s hard to think of a single country — that has greater respect and admiration for America today than it did five years ago when Barack Obama became president, and that’s a very sad, unfortunate state of affairs.”

Mr. Romney said during the 2012 campaign that Russia was the greatest threat to global security, a statement that was mocked at the time by Mr. Obama during a debate but which has proven prescient after this month’s Russian invasion of Crimea.

Mr. Romney blamed the president’s “naivete with regards to Russia and his faulty judgment about Russian’s intentions and objectives” for “a number of foreign policy challenges that we face.”

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“We really need to understand that Russia has very different interests from ours. This is not fantasyland. This is reality, where they are a geopolitical adversary,” said Mr. Romney. “They’re not our enemy, but they’re certainly an adversary on the world stage.”

The former Massachusetts governor also said that he would not run for president in 2016, but that “I’m thinking about the people who I want to see running for president.

“And there’s quite a group. We have a very strong field of leaders who could become our nominee and could stand up for the kind of leadership I think America wants.”

He cited former presidents Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush as exemplifying “the kind of leadership we want.”

“I think we have those kinds of leaders in the party and I fully anticipate that I’ll be supporting one of them very vigorously,” said Mr. Romney.

• Valerie Richardson can be reached at vrichardson@washingtontimes.com.

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