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In speech, Biden attacks Romney on foreign policy

Associated Press Modified: April 26, 2012 at 6:01 pm •  Published: April 26, 2012

NEW YORK (AP) — Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive. That was Vice President Joe Biden's message for Republican Mitt Romney in a campaign speech Thursday that blended a robust defense of President Barack Obama's foreign policy record with a harsh attack on the presumptive Republican presidential nominee's positions.

Appearing before 500 students at New York University Law School, Biden said Romney approaches foreign policy with a Cold War mentality and is uninformed about the challenges facing the U.S. abroad. He said Romney lacked vision and had "distorted" Obama's record in a way that has been counterproductive to U.S. interests.

"If you're looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive," Biden said, arguing that Obama's decisions on both foreign and domestic policy had made the U.S. safer.

Biden cast the former Massachusetts governor as an inexperienced foreign policy thinker who would delegate decisions to staff and advisers. He also criticized Romney as having a reputation for flip-flopping on issues.

"We know that when the governor does venture a position, it's a safe bet that he previously took or is about to take an exactly opposite position," Biden said, noting that Romney had originally supported setting a time frame for pulling U.S. troops from Afghanistan only to criticize Obama's plan to do so by the end of 2014.

Biden repeatedly used Romney's own words against him, such as when Romney downplayed the significance of capturing bin Laden and when Romney said Russia was the United States' gravest geopolitical foe.

"As my brother would say, 'Go figure,'" Biden said to laughs.

In response, Romney adviser John Lehman accused the president of a "gross abdication of leadership" that could have practical and political consequences.

"Why is the United States under Obama abdicating its leadership for keeping stability in the world?" asked Lehman, Navy secretary in the Reagan administration, during a conference call Romney's campaign arranged with reporters before Biden spoke. "This is a serious crisis and perhaps could be the central issue in the campaign."

Lehman continued: "The Obama administration, in a very studied and intentional way, is withdrawing from leading the free world and maintaining stability around the world — what Obama calls leading from behind. But the reality is it's opening up huge new vulnerabilities."

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