BOCA RATON, Fla. – Senator John Kerry, in the final hours before the third and final presidential debate, again harshly criticized Mitt Romney, calling him a foreign policy novice whose presidency would be dangerous for the country.
Kerry, who has played Romney in the mock debates with Obama, called the Republican ticket ”the most inexperienced twosome in modern history to run for president and vice president” and said they “lack clarity in almost anything they’ve said.”
“I think it’s time tonight for people to get real,” he said in the spin room as a larger group of reporters surrounded him. “We’re choosing a commander in chief of the United States of America at one of the most dangerous times, in terms of challenges abroad.”
“He takes a trip overseas, and he trips all over himself—from country to country,” Kerry said of Romney, in reference to a trip Romney took over the summer that was widely criticized.
Kerry, in previewing some of the lines of attack that Obama may use on stage tonight, criticized Romney for a willingness to change positions.
“Mitt Romney was against going into Libya, for going into Libya, against it,” Kerry said, adding later, “He has been on the wrong side – or another side, or a fourth side, of almost all of these foreign policy issues. So tonight’s the night of reckoning.”
Kerry denied that Obama’s campaign has underestimated Romney, and he used a figure – 47 percent – to illustrate how knotted up the electorate is. It’s a figure that Romney used in an apparent attempt to make a similar point, but disparaged many by saying 47 percent of the country considered themselves victims, and were so dependent on government that they wouldn’t vote for him.
“I think everybody agreed this was going to be a close race,” Kerry said. “There’s an automatic base of 47 percent in the country—on one side of the ledger, on the Republican side. Everybody knows that. We knew that when I ran. That’s just the reality.”
“This race has automatically tightened, as everybody in the Obama campaign predicted it would,” he added. “But he’s ahead. He’s ahead in the critical states. He’s even ahead, I saw tonight, nationally.”
As Kerry – who lost the 2004 presidential race—was on one side of the spin room arguing for Obama, Senator John McCain – who lost the 2008 presidential race – was on the other arguing for Romney.
After a reporter tweeted that they were the last two “losing presidential candidates,” Kerry tweeted, “We prefer ‘2nd place finishers.’ ”
In the spin room, Kerry declined to comment on how he channeled Romney in the debate preparations, or whether he shifted strategies after the first debate, when Obama was criticized for his listless performance.
“I was chosen from binders of senators,” Kerry joked. “And I learned my job well enough that when I went home my dog was growling at me. So obviously I trained something. We’ll see how it works tonight. We’ll see what happens.”Matt Viser can be reached at email@example.com.