Washington (AFP) -Mitt Romney, considering another presidential run, took swipes at potential 2016 rival Hillary Clinton on Wednesday for “cluelessly” conducting foreign policy, and said Barack Obama’s brand of economics is hurting Americans.
The 2012 Republican nominee, who lost to Obama, has returned to the political spotlight this month after telling donors he remains interested in a third shot at the White House.
In his speech at a university in the nation’s poorest state Mississippi, Romney expanded on campaign-style themes that will fuel speculation about his future.
The former Massachusetts governor and wealthy businessman recast himself as an anti-poverty crusader critical of Obama’s handling of the economy, and took square aim at Clinton.
The former secretary of state “cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine,” Romney told students at Mississippi State University, according to prepared remarks.
“The Middle East and much of North Africa is in chaos,” while China has grown “more assertive,” Romney warned.
Obama, meanwhile, has deployed “timid” foreign policy that left Washington “walking away from his red line in Syria,” slashing Pentagon spending and “insulting friends like Israel and Poland.”
Domestically, Romney acknowledged the economy has been “looking up” in the short term, with unemployment now down to 5.6 percent and the creation of millions of new jobs following the 2007-2008 crisis.
“But it is a lot better for the few, and pretty darn discouraging for the many,” Romney said, adding that incomes have remained stagnant for “decades.”
“I can’t count how many recent college graduates I met who expected a high-paying job at graduation and instead were waiting tables.”
Clinton would be no better at lifting Americans’ economic prospects, Romney warned.
“How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn’t know where jobs come from in the first place?” he said, a reference to a Clinton remark during last year’s mid-term election campaign when she criticized the principle of trickle-down economics.