McCain’s Opposition Research – Part 22

Via or from BuzzFeed comes an opposition research file compiled by the McCain campaign in 2008.  The document is 194 pages long.  Pages 27 – 34  had two documents of different font size, one overlaying the other.  This post begins  at the top of page 70 and ends  at the middle of page 75

I have bolded the first word in each entry for ease of reading.

Romney Says Bush & Cheney Were Wrong About Saddam’s Weapons But Told The Truth “As They Understood It”

Romney Said America And The World Were “Wrong” About Weapons Of Mass Destruction.

“Clearly we were very, very surprised by the fact that there weren’t weapons of mass destruction, apparently. Did we make a mistake? Absolutely. We thought there were weapons of mass destruction there. When I say we, I’m not just talking about our intelligence resources. I’m talking about those around the world. We were wrong.”

(MSNBC’s“Hardball,” 12/12/05)


Romney: “I Supported The President At The Time That He Entered Into Iraq And Believed That He Had The Kind Of Information He Needed To Have To Make That Decision.”

(Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,”2/26/06)



Romney: President And Vice President Acted In What They Believed Were Best Interests Of  The Country.

“I believe that Dick Cheney and the president told the truth as they understood it and have done what they believe is in the best interest of the American people without exception. They are doing what they think is right in the country.”

(MSNBC’s “Hardball,” 12/12/05)


Romney Said Post-War Planning Was Not Done Effectively And There Were Not Enough Troops



Romney Is Critical Of Post-War Planning In Iraq, Citing Too Few Troops And “Failures Of Our Own Preparation.”

“I think the place where we really fell down in our planning was in preparation for what would happen after we knocked down Saddam Hussein. I think we underestimated the kind of mayhem that might ensue once insurgency started from surrounding nations, once people within Iraq itself began the sectarian violence …But those kinds of developments would have suggested that we needed more troops. … And so, I think we were underprepared, underplanned, understaffed, certainly under managed with regards to the prison situation. We find ourselves in a very difficult situation, in part because of the failures of our own preparation.”

(Fox News’ “On The Record,” 4/23/07)



Romney: “Planning Level And The Troop Strength Level Were Not Adequate For The Need.”

“[F]ollowing the collapse of the Hussein government, we found that the planning level and the troop strength level were not adequate for the need. But we are where we are now. And problems arise. And surprises occur in major international conflict.”

(CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 10/17/06)



Romney: “I Don’t Think We Were As Fully Planned As We Needed To Be For Taking Over The Country. I Don’t Think We Had Enough Military Manpower In Place To Manage The Country Effectively.”

(Fox News’ “Your World,” 10/26/06)



Romney Bemoaned Failure To Send Enough Troops, Protect Oil Infrastructure.

“We probably didn’t have enough troops there. We were not prepared for taking over the country and trying to stabilize it, get it secure. And they saw people come into the country from other countries, insurgents. We didn’t protect the oilfields or the pipelines very well.”

(Fox News’ “Your World,” 8/31/06)



Romney: “We Haven’t Had Sufficient Troops.”

“I think also that we haven’t had sufficient troops following the period of major conflict, and so those are not new or novel observations. I think the president would agree there’s a benefit that comes with hindsight.”

(Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 2/26/06)



Romney: “Well, I Don’t Think We Did An Adequate Job Explaining To The American People All The Reasons For Entering Iraq. There Were Obviously Intelligence Failures.”

(Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 2/26/06)



Romney: “[T]here’s No Question It’s An Enormous Disappointment, From What Our Expectations Were.”

(Fox News’ “Your World,” 10/26/06)



Romney Felt Administration Had Ineffective Plan And Too Few “Boots On The Ground.”

“Secondly,what our responsibility is at this stage, given the fact that we went in, we toppled the government, I don’t think we had as effective a plan in place as we needed to have, or enough boots on the ground to secure the country, but that’s over now.”

(Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” 11/23/06)


Romney: “We Didn’t Do A Particularly Fabulous Job” In Period Immediately Following Saddam’s Ouster.

“But I also think there’s a — a recognition that — that the conduct of the conflict, post the period of major conflict, when — when Saddam fell, the period after that, we didn’t do a particularly fabulous job. And that’s to say the least. A lot of mistakes were made.”

(Fox News’ “Your World,” 8/31/06)


Romney: “It Has Been A Lot Tougher Than The American Public Was Prepared For.”

“I think people, all of us, are very concerned that Iraq didn’t proceed as we had expected it would. We thought it would be a quick take down, and then a replacement with an Iraqi government. It has been a lot tougher than the American public was prepared for.”

(Fox News’ “Your World,” 10/26/06)


Romney Called Abu Ghraib Scandal “Unfortunate.”

“I think the prison abuse scandal is something which has been unfortunate.”

(Fox News’ “Fox News Sunday,” 2/26/06)


Romney Hedged On Endorsing Troop Surge And Has Been Criticized For Not Talking About Iraq April 2007: American University Professor Said Romney Had Yet To Articulate “A Specific Iraq Policy.”

“Richard Semiatin, an assistant professor of government at American University, said that Romney, if he’s going to be a leading candidate, will have to articulate a true plan for the war. ‘If he’s going to compete here, he’s really going to have to come up with a specific Iraq policy,’ Semiatin said. Otherwise, he said, ‘he’ll get cut up in debates.’”

(Scott Helman, “Romney Urges More Be Spent On Defense And Energy Research,” The Boston Globe, 4/11/07)


Republican Legislator From New Hampshire Said Romney Has Not “Zeroed In” On The Issue Of Iraq.

“A local Republican last night issued a stern warning to Mitt Romney that he must resolve the issue with Iraq if he expects to win the race for the White House. ‘You have not zeroed in on the main issue that’s bothering voters in New Hampshire – especially independents in New Hampshire – and that’s the Iraq war,’ state Rep. Bob Elliott, R-Salem, said during a Romney campaign event at a local Bickford’s near the Massachusetts border.”

(Margo Sullivan,“Romney Gets Earful Over Iraq,” The Eagle-Tribune[Lawrence, MA], 4/26/07)


Romney’s Response Did Not Impress His Questioner.

“[Elliott] said he was unimpressed with Romney’s performance. ‘I don’t think he handled it well at all,’ Elliott said, adding that he plans to continue asking Romney the same question as the campaign progresses.”

(Margo Sullivan, “Romney Gets Earful Over Iraq,” The Eagle- Tribune [Lawrence, MA], 4/26/07)


Romney’s Failure to Mention Iraq In January ‘07 National Review Summit Speech Called “Bizarre And Just Wrong And Almost Offensive In My View” By Editor Rich Lowry.

“Put aside how rambling and unfocused [the speech] was. Maybe that can be chalked up to a bad night or fatigue. But to speak for 50 minutes or so and not to talk about the Iraq war before a conservative audience at a crucial moment in that war is bizarre and just wrong and almost offensive in my view. This doesn’t seem like an oversight. [Romney] went out of his way to check off every conservative box – except the one that is politically risky at the moment.”

(Rich Lowry, “The Romney Speech,” National Review’s “The Corner” Blog,, 1/29/07)


Late December 2006: Romney Deferred When Asked About Surge, Saying “I’m Still A Governor.”

“I’m not going to weigh in. I’m still a governor. I’m not running for national office at this stage. I’m not going to weigh in on specific tactics about whether we should go from 140,000 to 170,000. That’s something I expect the President to decide over the next couple of weeks and announce that to the nation. I want to hear what he has to say.”

(Robert Bluey, “Q&A: Mitt Romney Discusses Iraq War, Reagan’s Influence And Gay Marriage,” Human Events Website,,12/28/06)


December 2006: Romney “Avoided” Controversial Issues Like Iraq, Instead Delivering “Brief But Upbeat Remarks About How People In Asia Like Americans.”

“[R]omney avoided many of the controversial issues that have arisen in his campaign in recent weeks [like] abortion, gay marriage and the Iraq war. Instead, he delivered brief but upbeat remarks about how people in Asia like Americans…”

(David Pitt, “Romney Says He Backs Bush’s Iraq War Policies,” The Associated Press, 12/20/06)



Romney “Declined To Discuss” His Stance On Troop Surge.

“[Romney] said Wednesday he supports the way President Bush has carried out the war in Iraq, but he declined to discuss specifics about whether more troops should be sent. … When asked if he supported a surge in troops, one of the options Bush is said to be considering, Romney declined to discuss such details.”

(David Pitt, “Romney Says He Backs Bush’s Iraq War Policies,” The Associated Press, 12/20/06)



In November 2006, Romney Admitted He Didn’t Have A Plan For Iraq.

FOX NEWS’ BILL O’REILLY: “Do you have a plan in Iraq?”

MITT ROMNEY: “Well, I wouldn’t presume to present a plan different than the president, but I can tell you that I believe he was right to take the war on terror on an aggressive front.”

(Fox News’ “The O’Reilly Factor,” 11/23/06)

In January 2007, Romney Finally Came Out In Support Of President Bush’s Troop Surge Proposal Romney Issued Press Release On January 10, 2007 Stating His Agreement With President’s Troop Surge.

“I agree with the President: Our strategy in Iraq must change. Our military mission, for the first time, must include securing the civilian population from violence and terror. … In consultation with Generals, military experts and troops who have served on the ground in Iraq, I believe securing Iraqi civilians requires additional troops. I support adding five brigades in Baghdad and two regiments in Al-Anbar province. Success will require rapid deployment. This effort should be combined with clear objectives and milestones for U.S. and Iraqi leaders.”

(Romney Exploratory Committee, Press Release, 1/10/07)


CNN’s Wolf Blitzer:  “Here’s where Governor Romney stands on some of the top campaign issues. He supports President Bush’s position on Iraq, opposes an early troop withdrawal.”

(CNN’s “The Situation Room,”1/3/07)


Romney: “We Should Not Turn Around And Walk Out Of Iraq. That Would Be A Mistake.”

(“Romney Backs Bush Handling Of Iraq War,”Boston Herald, 12/21/06)


Romney:  “[W]e’re in a setting which is very challenging. But simply turning around and walking out now could lead to a humanitarian disaster.”

(CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 10/17/06)


Romney:  “I think very few responsible Democrats, including people like Hillary Clinton, say just turnaround and get out. We all want to get out as soon as we can. But we recognize that Iraq is simply a front on the war on terror. Terror is going to continue. The jihadists are trying to take over modern Muslim nations.”

(CNN’s “The Situation Room,” 10/17/06)


Romney:  “This is going to be a long effort. It hasn’t been perfectly run so far – that I will give you. But the idea of just turning and running out has huge humanitarian consequences, potentially geopolitical consequences for our nation and for the world.”

(Fox News’ “The Big Story,” 11/17/06)
Romney Stated His Agreement With McCain That Surge Was “The Only Way To Go.”

“Well, we[Romney and McCain] both agreed that the troop surge makes sense. Walking away from Iraq at this point would present some very serious challenges and risks in country that we don’t want to take, potentially a massive open civil war, potentially even a regional conflict which could draw us back into the region. So, the troop surge is the only way to go.”

(Fox News’ “The Big Story,” 4/3/07)


Romney Feels Surge Yielding Early Signs Of Progress On The Ground, Yet Called Urge To Withdraw Troops “Very Tempting”


Romney Has Said There Are “Very Early Signs That Progress Is Being Made.”

“There are early signs,very early signs, that progress is being made. If those signs continue to hold and if we see the kind of improvement in the capability of the Iraqi military, that’ll be very, very encouraging. But, at this stage, the signs are positive and it’s a lot better than it would have been had we continued the old policy or if we just walked away.”

(Fox News’ “The Big Story,” 4/3/07)


Romney: “We’re Seeing The Troop Surge Is Beginning To Show Signs Of Working.”

“[M]y view is that right now the right step for us to take is to support the commander in chief by putting in additional troops to make sure that al Maliki’s government is taking the lead. We’re seeing the troop surge is beginning to show signs of working. Now I’m not wild about keep any troops there any longer than we have to. But I think dividing the country in parts and getting out or simply getting out presents some risks to America.”

(CNN’s “Larry King Live,” 3/15/07)


“The Idea Of Pulling American Troops Out Of Iraq Is ‘Very Tempting,’ Romney Said, But Doing So Would Lead To A Larger Conflict In The Region.”

(Mike Glover, “Romney Says Stressed Military Needs More Troops,”  The Associated Press, 5/30/07)


Romney Has Made Favorable Comments On Plan Offered By Sen. Joe Biden (D-DE) To Split Iraq Into Thirds Romney Said Sen. Biden’s Plan To Partition Iraq Into Thirds Deserves Thought If Surge Fails.

“‘I want to see what the result is from the troop surge,’ Romney said. ‘I think we’re going to know whether this is working within months, not years.’ Should that fail, he said, other options need consideration – including Delaware Democratic Sen. Joe Biden’s plan to split Iraq into thirds.”

(Jason Cato, “Romney Wants Competition, Partnership With China,” Pittsburgh Tribune Review, 4/28/07)


Romney Would Leave All Options On Table Regarding Iraq, Including Biden Plan.

“On Iraq, Romneycontinued to voice support for the ‘surge’ strategy in Iraq, but said when he becomes president all possiblestrategies are on the table. ‘All the options that are being spoken of today, for instance, Joe Biden says let’s dividethe country up and leave. That option will still be available 6 months from now.’

(Jake Tapper and Matt Stuart, “RomneyOn Offense,”, 5/19/07)


Romney Claimed Biden Plan “Made Sense To Him,” Saying “At Least … He Puts A Plan Forward That HasSome Prospect Of Success.”

“One argument that he said made sense to him was pushed by U.S. Sen. JoeBiden, D-Del., who advocated dividing Iraq into three separate regions dominated by Kurds, Shiites and Sunnis.‘At least in the case of Sen. Biden, he puts a plan forward that has some prospect of success,’ Mr. Romney said.‘But the challenge with that plan is it adds an additional risk, a risk which is not incurred if a central [Iraq] and agovernment remains. A central government can maintain its borders against Iran and quell al-Qaida. You have to have a central government for that to happen.’ With that in mind, he said, he’d prefer to see how the current U.S.troop surge works before exploring other options in Iraq.”

(Dan Majors, “Romney Pays Visit Seeking Support,” Pittsburgh Post- Gazette, 4/28/07)


Intentionally Or Not, Romney Called For Larger Troop Surge Than President Bush.   President’s Surge Included Five Brigades To Baghdad Plus One Regiment Of 4,000 Troops To Al Anbar Province.

“So I’ve committed more than 20,000 additional American troops to Iraq. The vast majority of them –five brigades – will be deployed to Baghdad. … I have given orders to increase American forces in Anba rProvince by 4,000 troops.”

(President George W. Bush, Remarks In Washington, DC, 1/10/07)


Regiment Is Between 3,000 And 5,000 Troops.

“Prompted last month by Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld to consider ways to make more personnel available for duty in Iraq, the Marine Corps is advancing a proposal to increase its overall size by 3,000 to 5,000 Marines … The bid for an additional infantry regiment follows inquiries about available forces made last month by Rumsfeld and Gordon England, the deputy defense secretary.”

(Jason Sherman, “Marines Want Another Infantry Regiment,”, 11/7/06)


Analyst Fred Kagan Says Bush Administration Planned To Send “One Regiment Into Al Anbar …Around 4,000 Troops.”

“The Bush administration … [is] briefing a surge of as many as five brigades into Baghdad and one regiment into al Anbar … They are saying that five brigades contain around 17,500 troops,and the regiment around 4,000 troops, for a total surge of around 21,500 soldiers and Marines.”

(Frederick W. Kagan, “Numbers Games,” The Weekly Standard, 1/17/07)


Romney Called For Adding Two More Regiments In Anbar Province – One More Regiment Than Presiden tBush Called For.

“In consultation with Generals, military experts and troops who have served on the ground in Iraq, I believe securing Iraqi civilians requires additional troops. I support adding five brigades in Baghdad and two regiments in Al-Anbar province.”

(Romney For President Exploratory Committee, Press Release, 1/10/07)


 During GOP Presidential Debate In South Carolina, Romney Incorrectly Claimed Weapons Inspectors Were Not Allowed To Enter Iraq Before 2003 U.S. Invasion During The Third GOP Presidential Debate, Romney Claimed That Saddam Hussein Had Not Opened Iraq To Weapons Inspectors From The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

“In the first minutes of Tuesday’s debate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney claimed that the war in Iraq was the fault of Saddam Hussein. Specifically, Romney said that the war could have been averted if Hussein had “opened up his country”to inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

(Michael Scherer, “Romney On Those Gaffes,”, 6/9/07)


Romney:  “If You’re Saying, Let’s Turn Back The Clock And Saddam Hussein Had Opened Up His Country To IAEA Inspectors … [H]e Didn’t Do Those Things.”

“The question [about whether going to war in Iraq was the right decision] is, kind of, a non sequitur … If you’re saying, let’s turn back the clock and Saddam Hussein had opened up his country to IAEA inspectors and they’d come in and they’d found that there were no weapons of mass destruction, had Saddam Hussein therefore not violated United Nations resolutions, we wouldn’t be in the conflict we’re in. But he didn’t do those things, and we knew what we knew at the point we made the decision to get in. I supported the President’s decision based on what we knew at the time.”

(“Romney Clarifies Iraq Statements,”  Orange County Register,6/12/07)


Three Days Before U.S. Invasion Of Iraq, Two Organizations Were Conducting Inspections Inside Iraq –Both Were Advised To Leave Prior To Military Conflict.

“Mohamed El Baradei, head of the U.N.’s International Atomic Energy Agency that has been investigating whether Iraq has resumed any nuclear weapons production,confirmed in a Monday report to his agency’s board of governors that his inspectors were advised to leave. ‘Late last night…I was advised by the United States government to pull out our inspectors from Baghdad,’ El Baradei said in a statement. He added that the U.N.’s Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission, headed by Hans Blix, was given similar advice.”

(“UN Secretary General Orders Inspectors, Staff To Leave Iraq,”The Online News Hour,3/17/03)


September 2002:   Saddam Informed The U.N. He Would Allow “Unconditional Return” Of U.N.Weapons Inspectors.

“16 September 2002: UN Secretary General Kofi Annan says he has received a letter from the Iraqi Government offering to allow the unconditional return of weapons inspectors.”

(“Timeline: Iraq Weapons Inspections,”BBC News, 11/18/02)


November 2002: U.N. Inspectors, Led By Hans Blix, Entered Iraq To Begin Inspections.

“18 November2002: Hans Blix leads UN inspectors back to Baghdad to start their mission.”

(“Timeline: Iraq Weapons Inspections,”BBC News, 11/18/02)


The Orange County Register Called Romney’s Assertions “Naïve At Best,” Pointing Out That That IAEA Inspectors

Were  In Iraq Prior To US Invasion, And Left The Country Only At President Bush’s Request.

“That statement suggests that Gov. Romney didn’t know or had forgotten that prior to the war Saddam Hussein did allow UN weapons inspectors in, that the inspectors were able to visit most of the sites they wanted to, that they asked U.S. intelligence agencies for more information on specific sites where weapons were expected to be and inspected them, finding no weapons of mass destruction … it was President Bush, not Saddam Hussein, who informed the IAEA that it would be prudent to end the inspections, since, as we soon discovered, the United States had already decided to invade Iraq.”

(“Romney Clarifies Iraq Statements,” Orange County Register,6/12/07)


Annenberg Public Policy Center Called Romney’s Claim One Of “The Biggest Factual Fouls” Of The Debate.

“Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney committed the biggest factual fouls of the night, misleadingly asserting … that we went to war in Iraq because Saddam Hussein refused to allow weapons inspectors to come in.”

(“Third Time Around For GOP Hopefuls,, 6/8/07)


The Washington Post’s Howard Kurtz:  Romney’s Statement Was “Completely Untrue.”

“Former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney said in this debate this week that Saddam Hussein kicked out the U.N.weapons inspectors before the Iraq war started. Well, that’s completely untrue, and yet almost no news organization remarked on that.”

(CNN, “Reliable Sources,” 6/10/07)


After His Statements Were Called Into Question, Romney Refused To Concede His Error.

“On Wednesday,Romney was asked to expand on his remarks about Hussein at an ‘Ask Mitt Anything’ town hall in Manchester,N.H. The candidate stuck to his guns, again blaming Hussein’s resistance to IAEA inspections for the invasion. ‘Itwas his choice not to allow the kind of inspections that would have communicated to the world that there were notweapons of mass destruction,’ he said. ‘And that was an error, obviously an error that was very costly.’”

(Michael Scherer, “Romney On Those Gaffes,”, 6/9/07)


Romney Criticized Iraq Study Group Report, Said Recommendations “Will Not Meet Our Objectives” In Iraq Romney Called ISG Report “Product Of A Flawed Process.”

“The members of the Iraq Study Group deserve credit for their hard work. But their recommendations read like the product of a flawed process — one more focused on reaching consensus for the sake of reaching consensus.”

(Kathryn Jean Lopez, “A Primary Factor,”  National Review Online, 12/14/06)



“There were a few recommendations that I found especially striking: Suggesting that somehow the Israel-Palestine conflict is a root of sectarian and insurgent violence in Iraq is just wrong. Sunnis are killing Shia and vice versa. Pressuring Israel won’t change that.”

(Kathryn Jean Lopez, “A Primary Factor,” National Review Online, 12/14/06)
Romney Criticized ISG’s Recommendation To Enter Dialogue With Regimes Like Iran And Syria.

“Proposing that we negotiate with terrorist regimes like Syria and Iran — without a rigorous analysis of how ourincentives could ever be aligned — is just counter-productive. … I have no quarrel with talking, especially if ityields valuable intelligence and insight about an adversary. But that’s a far cry from actually negotiating with Iran,which sponsors Hezbollah, has nuclear ambitions, and has been clear in its intention to wipe our ally Israel off the map.”

(Kathryn Jean Lopez, “A Primary Factor,”  National Review Online, 12/14/06)


Romney Said Removing Troops From Combat Positions Before Iraq Was Secure Was Poor Idea.

“[I]nferring that our troops may be withdrawn from combat positions before Iraq is secure runs counter to my viewand to the views I have heard from some of America’s most accomplished military leaders. … I am not suggesting that there are simple solutions for Iraq. But it is clear to me that some of these recommendations will not meet our objectives in Iraq, or in the broader long war America is fighting today.”

(Kathryn Jean Lopez, “A Primary Factor,”  National Review Online, 12/14/06)


Romney Spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom: “To Pull Out Troops Precipitously Now Would Lead To AHumanitarian Disaster In Iraq.”

(Brian MacQuarrie, “Referendum Against Iraq War Gaining Ground,”  The Boston Globe, 11/8/06)

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