A decade ago, Mitt Romney went on CNN and made a statement that was widely perceived as a major mistake. “Russia, this is, without question, our number one geopolitical foe,” Romney, who would be the Republican presidential nominee in the 2012 race against President Barack Obama, told Wolf Blitzer in March of that year. “They — they fight every cause for the world’s worst actors.” Obama and his team pounced on the comment, insisting that it showed Romney was hopelessly out of touch when it came to the threats facing the US. In the third presidential debate between the two candidates in October 2012, Obama went directly after Romney for that remark. “When you were asked, ‘What’s the biggest geopolitical threat facing America,’ you said ‘Russia.’ Not al Qaeda; you said Russia,” Obama said. “And, the 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back, because the Cold War’s been over for 20 years.” The 80s called! Boom! Roasted! At the time, the attack worked. Obama cast himself as the candidate who understood the current threats – led by al Qaeda. Romney was the candidate still stuck in the Cold War age, a black-and-white figure in a colorful – and complex – world.
But today, after Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered Russian troops into eastern Ukraine, Romney’s comments look very, very different. And by “different,” I mean “right,” as even some Democrats are now acknowledging. “This action by Putin further confirms that Mitt Romney was right when he called Russia the number one geopolitical foe,” California Democratic Rep. Ted Lieu said on CNN Monday night.