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Romney Casts Himself As Foreign Policy Guru, Vows To Fix Middle East

President Obama Spends Monday In California Targeting Latino Voters
Mitt Romney

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney delivers a foreign policy speech at the Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va., on Oct. 8, 2012. (JIM WATSON/AFP/GettyImages)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Republican nominee Mitt Romney launched a blistering attack on President Barack Obama’s foreign policy on Monday.

It was Romney’s audition to be commander-in-chief. While giving a speech at Virginia Military Institute, he laid out a wide-ranging policy for dealing with our friends and enemies and tried to cast himself as a statesman who would give America a strong leadership role in the world.

The Middle East was a key focus for Romney. He dealt with everything from a two-state solution in Israel and Palestine to preventing Iran from getting the bombs, forcing Egypt to build a Democratic government, and helping Syrian rebels to overthrow the government, CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer reported.

Web Extra: Obama and Romney on the issues: Weigh in on the Presidential Forum

“The president has failed and what should be a negotiation process has dissolved into a series of heated disputes at the UN,” Romney said. “We are missing an historic opportunity to win new friends who share our values in the Middle East. As one Syrian woman put it, ‘We will not forget that you forgot about us,’” Romney said.

Romney was clearly trying to paint the president as a weak leader, but he also had to overcome a series of gaffs this summer when during one trip abroad he offended the British by questioning Olympic security preparations and infuriated the Palestinians when he said culture was part of the reason the Israelis had a more robust economy.

The president immediately fought back in a campaign ad, calling Romney’s tactics “reckless, amateurish … that’s what news media and fellow Republicans call Mitt Romney’s gaffe-filled July tour of England, Israel and Poland.”

While in California on Monday, President Obama declared the home of labor leader Cesar Chavez a national monument as he talked about the struggles in the Latino community.

“Even with the strides we’ve made, too many workers are still being denied basic rights and simple respect. But thanks to the strength and character of the American people we are making progress,” the president said.

The president conceded that too many Hispanic voters were having trouble digging out of the recession, but he said the country is making progress in creating more jobs for everyone.

Next up in the debate spotlight, the vice presidential candidates will go head-to-head Thursday night at Centre College in Danville, Ky.

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