New York Times columnist David Brooks had some harsh words for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Tuesday.
"Mitt Romney has been wandering around the country trying to find a place to disagree with Barack Obama," he said during a panel discussion at the U.S. Global Leadership Coalition's annual conference. "He's desperately trying, and every time he does, he looks like an idiot, because he has to say something so far out there on Russia or whatever it is."
The former governor has certainly taken a tough and colorful approach to U.S.-Russia foreign policy issues. In March, Romney called Russia the United States' "No. 1 geopolitical foe" -- a questionable assertion -- and described President Obama's reset policy as an "abject failure" in June -- a far more defensible critique.
Former senator Norm Coleman (R-MN), the Romney campaign's foreign-policy surrogate at the conference, countered Brooks' rebuke with an outline of the Republican candidate's foreign-policy qualifications and goals.
"As president, Governor Romney will apply the full spectrum of hard and soft power to influence events before they erupt into conflict," he stated.
Coleman also emphasized Romney's commitment to international economic cooperation.
"A Romney administration would put expanded free trade back at the center of our foreign and economic policy," he said. "In his first hundred days he'll launch a campaign to promote economic opportunity in Latin America and.... create the Reagan economic zone, a partnership among countries committed to free enterprise and free trade."