Ask Mitt Romney why he disagrees with President Obama's foreign policy, and he'll give you a quick answer: Iran. On "Meet the Press," for example, Romney said, "I can certainly look at his record and I think one can say that he's had some successes and he's had some failures. And perhaps the biggest failure is as it relates to the greatest threat that America faces and the world faces, which is the nuclear Iran."
But this requires a little more depth. George Stephanopoulos asked Romney a good question: "What is your red line with Iran?" The candidate replied, "Well, my red line is Iran may not have a nuclear weapon. It is inappropriate for them to have the capacity to terrorize the world."
It led to an interesting exchange.
STEPHANOPOULOS: President Obama said exactly the same thing. He said it's unacceptable for Iran to have a nuclear weapon. So your red line is the same as his.ROMNEY: Yeah, and I laid out what I would do to keep Iran from reaching that red line. [...]STEPHANOPOULOS: But your red line going forward is the same?MITT ROMNEY: Yes.
What's wrong with this? Nothing in particular, except two of Romney's most senior foreign policy advisers, Eliot Cohen and Richard Williamson, said Romney and Obama don't have the same red line with regards to Iran.
Mr. Romney, said Mr. Cohen, "would not be content with an Iran one screwdriver's turn away from a nuclear weapon." Though he did not say exactly where, in the development of nuclear capacity, Mr. Romney would draw his own red line, Mr. Cohen said that it would be far before Mr. Obama's own line -- at the point of actual weaponization -- and that it could be in a different place that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel draws it.
There are 53 days left before the election, and Romney and Romney's advisors are not yet able to say the same thing on one of their key foreign-policy complaints about Obama. One of these days, amateur hour is going to have to end.