Huffpost Politics

Mitt Romney Debate: Candidate Asked To Differentiate Himself From George W. Bush

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By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mitt Romney says he differs from fellow Republican George W. Bush on energy policy, China and deficits. President Barack Obama says the biggest difference is that his GOP rival is more extreme on social issues than Bush.

A voter during Tuesday's town hall-style debate asked Romney how he was different than Bush, who left office deeply unpopular. Romney says that he would govern under different conditions that would allow him to make North America energy independent from Arab and Venezuelan oil. He also says he would crack down on China's currency manipulation and cut the deficit by increasing trade.

Obama was ready with a quick retort. He says Romney, unlike Bush, would cut funding to Planned Parenthood and that Romney would pursue a more stringent immigration policy than Bush did.

HuffPost's Josh Hersh reports:

When a questioner asked Mitt Romney what differentiated him from the last Republican president, George W. Bush -- she said she "feared a return to those policies" should Romney win -- he emphasized Bush's handling of the economy.

What he didn't say, however, is anything about foreign policy, and the two long (and deficit-inducing) wars the Bush administration got the U.S. into in the Arab World. Many people who watch the slowly emerging details of Romney's foreign policy, and the people he has surrounded himself with, wonder if Romney will end up bringing the return of an expansionist, neoconservative approach to the world.

At the American Conservative, Daniel Larison called Romney's foreign policy "Bush 2.0." It's an idea that may not sit so well with some voters. Or, during the town hall, it may have been an oversight.

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