* Says security leaks are "contemptible"
* Also bound for London, Israel this week
RENO, Nev., July 24 (Reuters) - Republican presidential
candidate Mitt Romney, looking to bolster his the national
security credentials, plans to put the blame for leaks of
classified information at the feet of President Barack Obama.
In a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars convention on
Tuesday, Romney was to call out Obama's White House for leaks to
the media and assure veterans that a Romney administration would
keep a tight lid on secret information.
"What kind of White House would reveal classified material
for political gain?" Romney was to say, according to prepared
remarks released by his campaign. "I'll tell you right now: Mine
After a weekend truce following the deadly shooting rampage
in Aurora, Colorado, Romney and Obama have returned to their
intense campaign postures.
Romney departs this week on a trip that will take him to
London, Israel and Poland in an attempt to round out a campaign
that has so far focused almost exclusively on the U.S. economy.
In preparation for his trip, Romney will blast Obama over
leaks, including those about the raid that killed al Qaeda
leader Osama bin Laden and cyber-warfare that has reportedly
been used against Iran.
Romney's speech excerpts made no mention of major foreign
policy issues like the conflict in Syria or U.S. relations with
Russia and China.
Democrats have long accused Romney of being a foreign policy
"lightweight." In response, he appears to be making the security
leaks one of his primary paths toward attacking Obama on foreign
"This conduct is contemptible," Romney said in his prepared
remarks. "It betrays our national interest. It compromises our
men and women in the field. And it demands a full and prompt
investigation, with explanation and consequence."
Attorney General Eric Holder last month appointed two chief
federal prosecutors to spearhead an investigation into suspected
leaks of classified information amid allegations that the White
House made the disclosures to boost Obama's election chances.
In his speech, Romney also was to criticize the
"sequestration" trigger Obama and congressional Republicans
agreed to last summer.
The deal puts in place an automatic $1 trillion budget cut -
half of that in defense spending - that Romney says is an
"arbitrary, across-the-board budget reduction that would saddle
the military with a trillion dollars in cuts, severely shrink
our force structure and impair our ability to meet and deter
While the economy has provided an easy target for
Republicans to take aim at Obama, the president has generally
received good marks for his handling of foreign policy.
Obama made a speech to the VFW meeting on Monday and was
generally well received as he called on Republican legislators
to stop "playing politics" with the U.S. military budget.
(Editing By Alistair Bell)