New York - White House hopeful Mitt Romney renewed his attacks on Barack Obama's foreign policies on Saturday, blaming the president's "passivity and denial" for sewing chaos in the Middle East.
The Republican nominee took Obama to task for saying unrest and violence were "bumps in the road," adding that such a "casual assessment of shocking events reveals that the president really doesn't understand the gravity of the challenges that we face in the broader Middle East".
In his weekly podcast just 38 days before Americans vote on November 6, Romney made the case that Obama's 2008 victory was based not on his record of accomplishment but on his arguments that a more humble posture would command greater respect abroad and boost the US economy and moral standing.
"Four years later, every one of these arguments has been proven wrong," Romney said, citing the violent unrest coursing through the Middle East that led to the death of four Americans, including the US ambassador to Libya.
Passivity and denial
Obama's "theory that receding American leadership would calm anger against us and win us favour has not only failed, but it's produced more chaos," Romney said.
"President Obama's foreign policy is one of passivity and denial... And that places America and our friends and allies at the mercy of events and those who mean to do us harm."
The podcast marked a return to the Republican campaign's bracing attacks on the administration's handling of the unrest, one day after Romney said it was "premature" to judge Obama's handling of developments in Libya.
Friday's comments, in which the former Massachusetts governor said he would wait for results of an ongoing investigation into the assault on the consulate in Benghazi that led to the four US deaths, signalled a shift in tone for Romney.
Earlier this month, Romney harshly condemned a statement by US diplomats in Cairo as attacks on the embassy in Egypt and the consulate in Benghazi unfolded.
The statement - accusing the Obama administration of sympathising with extremists - came out before Romney knew ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans had died, and the Republican nominee was criticised for bungling his response to the crisis.
On Saturday, he said Obama "continues to show that he does not grasp the dimensions of what's occurring".
"We've seen a confused, slow and inconsistent response to the terrorist attack in Libya, a refusal to be frank with the American people about what happened, and a complete failure to explain the growing terrorist threat we face in the region," Romney added.
US foreign policy is a major focal point just four days before the first presidential debate on October 3.
Romney and Obama dropped off the campaign trail on Saturday ahead of the first face-off in Denver, Colorado, one of about 10 swing states where the election will be decided.