Romney Was Wrong to Ignore Troops, War

Bill Kristol says candidate made mistake skipping the soldiers
By Mark Russell,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 1, 2012 1:00 AM CDT
Romney Was Wrong to Ignore Troops, War
Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan wave following Romney's speech during the Republican National Convention in Tampa.   (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)

(Newser) – Despite having 68,000 Americans serving in Afghanistan, Mitt Romney made no mention about the war in his acceptance speech Thursday evening, earning him a harsh rebuke from conservative Bill Kristol in the Weekly Standard. "Leave aside the question of the political wisdom of Romney's silence, and the opportunities it opens up for President Obama next week," Kristol writes. "What about the civic propriety of a presidential nominee failing even to mention, in his acceptance speech, a war we're fighting and our young men and women who are fighting it?"

In fact, it was the first time since 1952 that a Republican nominee for the presidency gave an acceptance speech without mentioning war, notes the AP. Neither Romney nor Paul Ryan mentioned terrorism or war during their speeches. And when Clint Eastwood did, it was to call for the troops to come home immediately—a line that drew big cheers. Even in times of peace, such as by Gerald Ford in 1976 and Ronald Reagan in 1980, candidates have used the specter of war to push for more defense spending. But today, 66% of voters want American forces out of Afghanistan, and only 37% of Republicans back staying in the conflict. "Has it ever happened that we've been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?" asks Kristol. (Read more William Kristol stories.)

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