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Biden calls Russia #1 threat to U.S. after slamming Romney for saying same thing in 2012

Romney views the world "through a Cold War prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the 21st century," Biden said in 2012, referring to Romney naming Russia the #1 foreign policy threat to U.S.

Updated: October 27, 2020 - 1:15pm

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Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden recently identified Russia as the number one threat to America but in 2012, when he was vice president, Biden called then-GOP presidential nominee Gov. Mitt Romney "out of touch" for taking the same position.

Biden said Romney views the "world through a Cold War prism that is totally out of touch with the realities of the 21st century." 

Biden slammed Romney for referring to Russia as "our number one geopolitical foe," which was greeted with laughter from members of the audience watching Biden's address in April 2012.

"Governor Romney is mired in a Cold War mindset," Biden said in a foreign policy speech at New York University in 2012.

Biden referred to Romney's criticism of Obama's handling of the New START treaty, which was a nuclear arms control treaty reached with Russia in 2010.

"Governor Romney was part of a very small group of Cold War holdovers who never met an arms control treaty that he likes," he said. "He was way out of the mainstream on this issue, unless you think that's just political hyperbole."

"He acts like he thinks the Cold War is still on, Russia is still our major adversary," Biden said in an interview on CBS News' "Face the Nation" in 2012. "I don't know where he has been. We have disagreements with Russia, but they're united with us on Iran. One of only two ways we're getting material into Afghanistan to our troops is through Russia ... if there is an oil shutdown in any way in the Gulf, they'll consider increasing oil supplies to Europe. This is not 1956."

In October 2012, Obama mocked Romney's position on Russia as the top threat to the U.S. during a presidential debate.

"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back because the Cold War's been over for 20 years," Obama said.

In a "60 Minutes" interview that aired Sunday evening, Biden said Russia is the greatest threat to the U.S.

"The biggest threat to America right now in terms of breaking up our security and our alliances is Russia," he said.

In similar fashion, Biden tended to downplay the threat from China when running in the Democratic presidential primaries last year and pivoted more recently to a tougher stance in an attempt to blunt Trump campaign efforts to depict him as soft on Beijing.

"China is going to eat our lunch? Come on, man," the former vice president said at a campaign event in Iowa in May 2019. "They can't figure out how they're going to deal with the corruption that exists within the system. I mean, you know, they're not bad folks, folks. But guess what? They're not competition for us."

"Trump said he'd get tough on China," a Biden campaign ad says. "He didn't get tough. He got played."