Once and possibly future Republican presidential contender Mitt Romney says in a new book that President Barack Obama's international outreach efforts during his first year in office have been "kindling" to the "anti-American fires burning all across the globe."
In a wide-ranging policy book none-too-subtly titled "No Apology: The Case for American Greatness," Romney says the Democrat's efforts to reconcile with foreign powers, Muslims and others angered by President George W. Bush's administration have weakened the country's stature instead of enhancing it.
"And of all people, we should expect our president to understand these things, to expect that his bonds of affection for our country would be obvious and unbreakable," writes Romney. "In a world composed of nations that are filled with rage and hate for the United States, our president should proudly defend her rather than continually apologize for her."
He writes: "There are anti-American fires burning all across the globe; President Obama's words are like kindling to them."
The Democratic National Committee disputed that assessment. "In the last election, the American people overwhelmingly rejected a radical foreign policy authored by Dick Cheney and wholeheartedly adopted by Mitt Romney that alienated our allies, emboldened our enemies, depleted our resources, distracted our focus and made the nation less secure," said DNC spokesman Hari Sevugan.
"What's sorry is that Romney doesn't think that deserves an apology. The president, on the other hand, has repaired much of the damage done by these failed policies, rebuilt our capacity to fight terrorism around the world, and kept our country safe," Sevugan said.
Romney kicked off his book's marketing campaign Tuesday with a blitz across the TV dial, starting with NBC's "Today" show, where he gave Obama an "F" for his first year rather than the B-plus the president recently gave himself.
The former Massachusetts governor then moved to ABC's "The View" and Fox News Channel's "Hannity" before concluding on CBS's "Late Show with David Letterman." Fellow Republican and potential 2012 White House rival Sarah Palin was booked as a guest on NBC's competing late-night program, "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno."
During the next two months, Romney's book tour will take him to 19 states, the District of Columbia and across the border to Toronto, where Palin recently promoted her own book. His itinerary reads like a presidential primary schedule, with stops in Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Florida, Missouri and Nevada.
Romney's 323-page tome is less personality-driven than Palin's book, "Going Rogue." Instead, it reflects on why great societies have declined and suggests ways to improve the U.S. economy and restore its military and diplomatic might so it remains both a superpower and an independent arbiter of freedom around the world.
"I don't wish challenges and hard times on this nation, even though I believe they have made us the country and people we are today. But neither do I fear them," writes Romney. "My sole concern is that Americans will choose not to act, not to face our challenges head-on, not to overcome them."
Among the challenges Romney wants to confront is national health care, though not with the same plan outlined by the president.
Obama has proposed a national policy modeled after the Massachusetts universal health care plan Romney signed into law in 2006, including a mandate that all get insurance of some kinds and the government provide coverage or subsidies to those who can't afford it.
Nonetheless, Romney tried to disavow it.
"No. 1, let states resolve these issues rather than have a federal government, one-size-fits-all plan," he said on "Today" when asked about the plans. "That's what we did. No. 2, don't raise taxes. Don't need to do that. No. 3, don't cut Medicare on senior citizens. His plan does all those things. That's why it's wrong."
The DNC replied in a statement: "To no one's surprise, Mitt Romney is rewriting the facts on the health care reforms he passed as Massachusetts governor. Numerous independent analysts, however, confirm that Romney's plan is actually quite similar to the president's proposal and note that the distinctions Romney did attempt to draw during his interview this morning on the 'Today' show are simply false."
Romney was asked whether he planned to run for president in 2012. He said he would make a decision after this year's midterm elections.