Nightly News | September 16, 2012
>>> the sudden flurry of events across the middle east and north africa has thrust foreign policy into a presidential campaign that had up until now largely been dominated by the economy and other domestic issues. tonight a racheting up of tensions between israel and iran presents a difficult balancing act for both president obama and mitt romney as they navigate the campaign on a whole new front. we get our report tonight from peter alexander .
>> reporter: less than eight weeks until the election, the anti-american violence across the islamic world has quickly shifted the central focus of the race from the economy to foreign policy . its urgency racheted up by israeli prime minister benjamin netanyahu who today on "meet the press" issued this stark warning about iran 's nuclear program.
>> very close. six months away from being about 90% of having the enriched uranium. i think that you have to place that red line before them now, before it's too late.
>> reporter: netanyahu argued the recent unrest in the middle east makes the stakes even higher.
>> reporter: international diplomacy has an impact on iran . . the pressure we are mounting is unprecedented in terms of sanctions to still have results.
>> president obama has been trying to show resolve in the face of new tensions.
>> i want people around the world to hear me to all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished.
>> reporter: but mitt romney has fiercely attacked the administration, labelling the president a weak leader.
>> sometimes it seems that we're at the mercy of events instead of shaping events. the world needs american leadership. the middle east needs american leadership.
>> reporter: despite criticism accusing romney of politicizing the crisis, romney 's senior advisors insist it exposes what they've seen as a stark contrast between the candidates.
>> if we project weakness, they come. if we are strong, they are adversaries that will not test us and our allies will respect us.
>> reporter: still, with polls showing more americans trust president obama 's handling of foreign policy , several top republicans, including senator john mccain , have urged romney to give a major foreign policy speech, which romney advisors say is under consideration. peter alexandalexander, nbc