From NBC's Abby Livingston, Katelin Schartz, and Mark Murray
At a speech today in DC sponsored by the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, Mitt Romney called for increased defense spending, and also again criticized President Obama for going on a "tour of apology" while traveling abroad.
"It's not because America hasn't made mistakes -- we have -- but because America's mistakes are overwhelmed by what America has meant to the hopes and aspirations of people throughout the world," he said, adding: "Britain's Guardian newspaper noted that Mr. Obama has been more critical of his own country, while on foreign soil, than any other president in American history. That would be a most unfortunate distinction at any time."
Seeking to bolster his national security credentials, especially if he makes another White House bid, the one-term Massachusetts devoted much of his speech to calling for more defense spending. "We cannot allow the economic crisis to conceal the very real threats to our nation's security," Romney said. "We cannot ignore the intentions of competitors who would replace America's leadership with their own, and set back the cause of freedom."
In fact, Romney was fiercely critical of Obama's "domestic" spending at the expense of funding for national defense. "I fear ... that he will look to the military budget to find the biggest cuts and finance his domestic priorities."
The potential 2012 presidential candidate detailed a litany of other criticisms of the Obama administration -- including its handling of North Korea. "Arrogant, delusional tyrants can not be stopped by earnest words and furrowed brows. Action, strong bold action coming from a position of strength and determination, is the only effective deterrent."
After the speech, Romney spoke to reporters about GM filing for bankruptcy. He cited a November op-ed he penned advocating for bankruptcy and showed frustration that the action has taken so long and that the federal government has been a party to that delay. When asked if either the Bush or Obama administration were to blame for the drawn out bankruptcy, he expressed a hesitancy to "point fingers" but ultimately said, "Both."