Romney's got McCain's back in Denver

Andy Nelson/The Christian Science Monitor/File
The GOP's Mitt Romney, in Denver Tuesday during the Democratic National Convention, challenged his party's rivals to 'talk about radical, violent jihadism and the threat it poses to the civilized world.'

Denver – Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney took the Republican fight to Denver this week, amid speculation that he may be tapped as the No. 2 on the GOP presidential ticket.

"Barack Obama is a fine person, but I don't think he is ready to be president," he said of the Democrats' presumed nominee at a lunch for reporters sponsored by The Christian Science Monitor.

"I don't think he has the judgment which is developed through years of experience in life that prepares him for assuming the title of president of the United States and commanding the most powerful military and guiding the most powerful economy.”

Moreover, Senator Obama and Sen. John McCain, the likely Republican presidential nominee, offer sharply different views of how the economy works – and how the world works, Mr. Romney said.

On the economy: Obama proposes big tax increases on individuals, corporations, capital gains, and Social Security; new restrictions on trade; and the pursuit of alternative sources of energy, but without nuclear energy or offshore drilling.

Senator McCain would lower taxes, open markets to more trade, and "take a bite out of the three-quarters of a trillion [dollars] the US sends overseas for energy" by boosting nuclear power and offshore drilling, he says.

On foreign policy: Obama would "sit down with the world's worst actors, without condition, and talk things out," Romney says, noting that the Illinois senator has since backed off that position somewhat.

McCain’s view, he adds, is that "we speak first with our friends" and develop a league of democracies to stand up to the threat of "radical, violent Islam or jihadism" and "an expansionist, authoritarian Russia."

"Will the Democrats in this convention ever talk about radical, violent jihadism and the threat it poses to the civilized world?" he asked.The choice of Sen. Joseph Biden (D) of Delaware as Obama’s running mate might be seen as shoring up Obama’s "foot faults in the foreign policy area," Romney says.

"But as you stand back and look at Joe Biden, you see someone who has spent 30 years dealing with foreign policy but has usually been wrong," he adds, citing Senator Biden’s opposition to the first Gulf War, his proposal to carve Iraq into three different countries along sectarian lines, and his doubts about the value of a "surge" of American troops into Iraq last year.

Asked about his own prospects for a vice-presidential nod, Romney said: "I’m not here to talk about my qualifications.... I’m talking about why John McCain has the qualifications to be president."

But in response to questions, he did defend himself on charges by Obama’s campaign manager, David Plouffe, that Romney is a job killer.

Romney said the investment company he cofounded invested in some 100 businesses. "In some we were successful, in some we failed. In every case I can remember, it was our objective to grow and make more successful the enterprise," he said.

Looking ahead to the Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minn., next week, Romney says McCain’s position in surveys of likely voters – a tie with Obama – is remarkable, "given the celebrity status which has been lavished upon Barack Obama."

"I believe that as the American people really begin to focus on the candidates and the issues, as they typically do after Labor Day, that John McCain's positions on the issues and his lifetime of experience and judgment will propel him to become the winner in this race," he said.

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