BOSTON—Sensing a potential opening, Mitt Romney is shifting his focus back to foreign policy amid controversy over the Obama administration's response to a terrorist attack in Libya that left four Americans dead.
The Republican presidential nominee published an op-ed in Monday's Wall Street Journal criticizing President Barack Obama's suggestion that the developments overseas are "bumps in the road." He accused Obama of allowing America's leadership in the world to "atrophy."
"These developments are not, as President Obama says, mere 'bumps in the road.' They are major issues that put our security at risk," Romney writes. "Yet amid this upheaval, our country seems to be at the mercy of events rather than shaping them. We're not moving them in a direction that protects our people or our allies. And that's dangerous. If the Middle East descends into chaos, if Iran moves toward nuclear breakout, or if Israel's security is compromised, America could be pulled into the maelstrom."
The op-ed echoes comments Romney has made over the past week about Obama's handling of the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. On Friday, the GOP nominee told reporters on his campaign plane that he believes there needs to be an investigation into what the administration knew about the attack, which claimed the life of Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya.
Romney has used the developments in Libya to back up his assertion that Obama's lack of leadership and tense relationships with allies like Israel is hurting America abroad.
"By failing to maintain the elements of our influence and by stepping away from our allies, President Obama has heightened the prospect of conflict and instability," Romney writes. "He does not understand that an American policy that lacks resolve can provoke aggression and encourage disorder."
Romney's op-ed comes just days before he's set to meet Obama on the debate stage for the first time. The two will square off Wednesday in a debate in Denver that will be solely focused on domestic policy.
But Politico reports Romney will turn his attention back to foreign policy after Wednesday with a major speech on the subject next week.