Romney blasts Hillary Clinton as 'clueless'

Her tenure as secretary of state was 'a monumental bust,' former GOP nominee says

File photo of former U.S. Clinton smiling during a lengthy ovation for her at the start of an event on empowering woman and girls, at the World Bank in Washington
Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton smiles during a lengthy ovation for her at the start of an event on empowering woman and girls, at the World Bank in Washington in this May 14, 2014 file photo. When likely Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton kicks off the tour to promote her new memoir on Tuesday, she will follow the well-worn path of other politicians, including President Barack Obama and Republican Mitt Romney, who have published books before pursuing the White House. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/Files (UNITED STATES - Tags: POLITICS MEDIA) (REUTERS)

Mitt Romney had some harsh words on Sunday for the person many believe will be the Democratic presidential nominee in 2016: Hillary Clinton.

"Consider what's happened around the world during the years that she was secretary of state," the former Massachusetts governor and 2012 Republican presidential nominee said on NBC's "Meet the Press", calling her tenure "a monumental bust."

Romney slammed U.S. foreign policy, saying both Clinton and President Barack Obama have "repeatedly underestimated" America's enemies on the international stage.

"This administration, from Secretary Clinton to President Obama, has repeatedly underestimated the threats that are faced by America," Romney said. "It has repeatedly underestimated our adversaries. And whether that's Russia or [Syrian President Bashar] Assad or ISIS or al-Qaida itself, it has not taken the action necessary to prevent things from happening. We have not used our influence to do what's necessary to protect our interests."

Romney also blasted Clinton for comments she made during her recent book tour about the decision to release five Taliban prisoners in order to free U.S. soldier Bowe Bergdahl.

"She was asked whether the Bowe Bergdahl trade was one that presented a threat to the United States," Romney said. "And she came back with a clueless answer. She was clueless. She said, 'Look, these commandos don't represent a threat to the United States.' Well, of course they do. And then she went on to say, 'They only represent a threat to Afghanistan and Pakistan.' Are you kidding? I mean, we're in Afghanistan. And we're in Afghanistan in part to protect America's security."

To defeat Clinton in 2016, Romney said, the GOP "playbook, I believe, is to look at her record."

"I think her clueless comments about the Bergdahl exchange as well as her record as the secretary of state are really going to be the foundation of how a Republican candidate is able to take back the White House," he said.

Romney also downplayed House Majority Leader Eric Cantor's shocking loss in last week's Virginia GOP primary, saying Cantor's defeat doesn't signal the tea party's resurgence within the GOP.

“Our party is becoming stronger,” Romney said, noting South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham's primary victory against tea party challengers on Tuesday.

“In a very conservative state, Lindsey Graham won in a landslide,” Romney said. “This has a lot to do with the effectiveness of relative campaigns.”

Romney spoke after a GOP fundraising event he headed in Park City, Utah. He dismissed talk that the event — attended by heavy hitters including New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, Ohio Sen. Rob Portman, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan — was precursor to another presidential run for him.

"I'm not running for president," Romney said. "I brought a number of the 2016 contenders here to meet with my fundraisers. If I had been running, I wouldn't be doing that.

"Look, I want to find the best candidate for us to take our message to the American people," he added. "That we can bring better jobs, higher incomes, and more security globally. We can do that. And I'm convinced that the field of Republican candidates that I'm seeing is [in] a lot better position to do that than I am."