What does it say when a Romney adviser concedes "foreign policy" as "the president's turf," asks FPI Director William Kristol

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Buried in the middle of an interesting Politico article on GOP alarm over the Romney campaign's neglect of foreign policy and its "ham-handed response" to criticism on that score is this:

But a Romney adviser defended the candidate’s handling of the issue, saying he deliberately played down national security at the convention. “This is an economy election and if he gets off on foreign policy or war policy, he’s playing on the president’s turf,” the adviser said. 

Really? What does it say when a Romney adviser concedes "foreign policy or war policy" as "the president's turf"?

Can one imagine a Reagan adviser saying such a thing in 1980? Even in 1992, when the nation was heaving a collective sigh of post-Cold War relief, I'm not sure one could find a Clinton adviser making such a comment. Indeed, Clinton and Gore spent a lot of time trying to minimize George H.W. Bush's foreign policy advantage. And of course in 1992 we weren't at war, 9/11 hadn't happened, and Iran wasn't about to get nuclear weapons.

In any case, Romney surely doesn't agree with this adviser's statement by an adviser. Surely it would help Romney—and it would be the fitting thing to do—if he explicitly repudiated it.

- Originally posted on The Weekly Standard Blog

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