Biden was speaking at New York University as part of Obama's re-election campaign. The vice president criticized GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney's foreign policy with regards to Iran noting: "the governor’s tough talk about military action is just that — talk. And, I would add, counterproductive talk.”
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The vice president mentioned President Theodore Roosevelt's famous expression: "Speak softly and carry a big stick" and said “I promise you, the President has a big stick. I promise you," which elicited a great deal of laughter from the student audience.
'The President has a big stick' (Photo: Reuters)
“President Obama understands what Governor Romney apparently doesn’t: It is possible — it’s indeed necessary – for America to be strong and smart – and smart at the same time,” Biden said.
In his speech Biden tried to summarize Obama's achievements with one statement: "If you're looking for a bumper sticker to sum up how President Obama has handled what we inherited, it's pretty simple: Osama bin Laden is dead and General Motors is alive."
Arguing that Obama's decisions on both foreign and domestic policy had made the US safer, Biden suggested that were Romney president, the opposite would be true.
Romney's advisors hit back before Biden even took to the stage. His advisor Dan Senor said that Romney wasn't calling for use of a "military option" against Iran. “We are simply saying the threat needs to be credible for the Iranians to take us seriously,” he said.
On Thursday Defense Minister Ehud Barak said "A nuclear Iran would speed up a regional nuclear arms race that would include Egypt, Turkey and Saudi Arabia."
This in contrast to statements made by IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz who noted that the Iranian leadership "is composed of very rational people" and that while Tehran was reaching the point at which it could decide to build a nuclear bomb, the leaders had not yet decided whether to proceed.
US Defense Secretary Leon Panetta responded to Gantz's remarks and said: "I would hope he's correct and he knows something more that I do."
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