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Kerry knocks Romney as 'unsteady' before foreign policy debate


Updated 8:57 p.m. - BOCA RATON, FL -- Perhaps previewing President Barack bama’s approach in tonight’s foreign policy debate, Sen. John Kerry took to the spin room to decry Romney as an “unsteady, inexperienced, unclear hand” on foreign policy.

“We’re choosing a Commander in Chief of the United States of America in one of the most dangerous times in terms of the challenges abroad,” Kerry said, mentioning recent upheaval in Syria, Libya, Lebanon and Bahrain. “I don’t think it’s time to have an unsteady, inexperienced, unclear hand on the tiller of American foreign policy, period.”

Contrasting Romney’s domestic background with Obama’s four years of real-time foreign policy experience, Kerry, who has played Romney in debate practice versus Obama, added: “It doesn’t hurt to have a little bit of experience instead of none.”

Kerry also pilloried Romney for being both a flip-flopper on foreign policy issues and being an extremist within his own party.

“You can’t Etch A Sketch your way through foreign policy. You have to have some consistency and some precision,” Kerry said, slamming Romney as someone who has shifted positions on foreign policy throughout the campaign.

But then, he suggested that it was Romney’s rigidity in his foreign policy that put him so outside the mainstream of the Republican party.

“He spoke out about Libya. Shot from the hip. Didn’t even have the facts. And he was wrong as well as irresponsible. He talks about China. Members of his own party call him irresponsible in his China policy,” Kerry said.

While this debate is intended to focus solely on international relations, Kerry also took a minute to slam Romney over his signing a pledge, penned by Americans for Tax Reform’s Grover Norquist, that he would not raise taxes.

“Mitt Romney signed a pledge to a lobbyist to say he will not raise revenue and he’s tripled down on it in the course of this campaign. That’s pretty serious,” Kerry said.

He also suggested there was willingness within the Republican Party to work on raising revenues, but that a President Romney would overlook any such inclination.

Giving reporters a small window into debate preparation, Kerry made a few recognizable Romney allusions: one to his “binders full of women” comment and one to the Romney family’s dog, Seamus, who famously rode on top of their car during a road trip. 

“I was chosen from binders of senators and I learned my job well enough that when I went home my dog was growling at me so obviously I changed something. We’ll see how it works tonight,” Kerry said.

On a more serious note, he added, “I think the president could not be more anxious to defend the decisions he has made.”

“I’m confident about his leadership,” he added before walking away from a throng of still-shouting reporters. 

Appearing in the spin room later, Sen. John McCain, a Romney supporter, responded to Kerry's criticisms.

"They're always good at all these adjectives and adverbs but they never have anything to back it up with. They call him a liar, they call him all of these different names, and bluster, and then we had a cute 'Romnesia' - wasnt that cute and clever?" he said.