A little more than four years ago, Hillary Clinton suggested then-Democratic primary opponent Barack Obama was so naïve on the world stage he’d need a “foreign policy instruction manual” should he win office.
Fast forward to the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Obama, now the president, accepted his party’s nomination for a second term by touting his experience as a steady leader in the face of overseas crises and mocked his Republican challenger as “new to foreign policy.”
How times have changed.
But the president’s new tactic — to incorporate into his campaign message the sense that he is the tested leader, and that Mitt Romney is a newbie — could be a risky one. For starters, it recalls the very criticism against Obama, like the above line from Clinton, when he first ran.
“Obama had probably less foreign policy experience (when he first ran for president) than Romney has,” said Steffen Schmidt, political science professor at Iowa State University.
Schmidt also noted that Romney is hardly alone among non-incumbent candidates in not having a tremendous foreign policy background. “The truth of the matter is, presidents learn on the job,” he said.