Romney, asked about President Barack Obama’s foreign policy towards Russia, pivoted to mock Clinton, Obama’s former secretary of state, for presenting a literal “reset Button” to Russia’s foreign minister in 2009. Relations between the U.S. and Russia have since sharply deteriorated.
“I worry about the country,” Romney said. “The president got those things wrong. Unfortunately he underestimated Russia. This whole ‘reset policy’ with Hillary Clinton smiling ear from ear, pressing a red reset button I think is one of the most embarrassing incidents in American foreign policy.”
In July, Clinton defended the “reset” policy, insisting it worked at the time.
“The reset worked,” Clinton said, it was an effort to try to obtain Russian cooperation on some key objectives while Medvedev was president.”
At another point in the interview, Romney also went after Clinton for her recent statements separating herself from Obama’s foreign policy. Among other things, Clinton appeared to dismiss Obama’s “don’t do stupid stuff” philosophy. But Romney argued Clinton can’t separate herself from Obama’s blunders overseas.
“I can’t begin to explain the president’s foreign policy. I think Hillary Clinton tried to explain it by saying there wasn’t a foreign policy, in effect. Rarely did I agree with what Hillary Clinton had to say but on that topic, I think we agreed. I think it’s interesting that she tries to distance herself from the president’s foreign policy, given the fact that she was his secretary of state for four years,” Romney said.
In an appearance later at Chicago’s Union League Club, both men waxed nostalgic about the 2012 presidential race and exchanged some good-natured ribbing about their plans for 2016.
“The truth is it’s a magnificent experience because you get to see the country person by person, state by state,” Romney said of his 2012 run. “We learned about their life stories, and it was very touching and made me more optimistic about the future.”
Of course, he joked, the end result wasn’t ideal. “It’s not where we wished we were,” he said.
Still, he advised, “If you get the chance to run for president, do it.”
Ryan quipped, “The third time is the charm,” nodding at the speculation that Romney might decide to run again in 2016 despite falling short in 2008 and 2012.
“You wouldn’t be so bad yourself,” Romney replied. In the Fox interview, after Ryan said Romney would make a better president than he, the former Massachusetts governor replied, “He’s very generous, but I had my turn. It’s his turn now.”
On the subject of his own potential run, Ryan remained noncommittal.
“That decision and that timeline is something I have pushed off until after the election because I believe we have more important things to do right now,” he said. “That’s my priority and I’ll focus on ’16 in 2015.