White House press secretary Jay Carney said he personally has no regrets that President Obama's team poked fun at Mitt Romney for calling Russia America's No. 1 geopolitical foe during the 2012 election despite this week's Russian incursion into Ukraine.
During Thursday's press briefing, Carney responded to a question from Fox News' Ed Henry about whether he had any regrets about the Obama campaign dismissing Romney's Russian comments by flatly responding “no” before restating the state of play in Ukraine right now.
“Again... you have a situation where Russia is violating international law because a country - a government that Moscow supported was rejected by the vast majority of the Ukrainian people and because they wanted to determine their own future,” he said during Thursday's press briefing.
He then pivoted to criticizing Republicans for assailing Obama's foreign policy during such a delicate time for diplomacy.
“I think it's very important to note that when it comes to these kinds of situations on the international scene, you know, partisan politics are fine. We engage in them every day here in Washington,” said Carney.
“But in a case like this, instead of being a partisan Republican and attacking the president, you know, be a partisan American in, you know, identifying the outrageous actions and violations of international law that have taken place.”
Henry asked whether Carney was referring to Sens. John McCain, R-Ariz., and Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who this week have repeatedly blamed what they view as Obama's weakness on the international stage for emboldening Russian President Vladimir Putin to move troops into Crimea.
“I think that partisanship, as others have identified in this circumstance, is unwarranted, because, in fact, the president and others — you know, the administration has been taking concrete action in response to the violation of international law that has taken place.” he said. “We are working in concert with our partners to do so.”
In October 2012 Romney called Russia America's "No. 1 geopolitical foe" and the Obama campaign immediately pounced, releasing an attack ad featuring former Clinton Secretary of State Madeleine Albright which accused Romney of being an out-of-touch cold warrior.
The campaign also published and circulated a poster employing a Soviet-style propaganda motif dismissing the "preposterous notion" that Russia is our "No. 1 Geopolitical Foe."
"Mitt Romney talks like he's only seen Russia by watching Rocky IV," the poster proclaimed.