Romney team tries hanging a Jimmy Carter label on Obama

By Scott Shane from The New York Times

A president struggling simultaneously to cope with anti-American tumult in the Middle East and fix stubborn economic trouble at home: Is President Obama replaying the one-term presidency of Jimmy Carter?

Mr. Obama began his presidency by reaching out to Iran and gave a tempered response when the pro-democracy Green Movement protests broke out there in 2009 — a position the Romney campaign has seized on to accuse the president of “projecting weakness.”

But the case for weakness runs up against Mr. Obama’s record when it comes to the targeted killing of terrorism suspects, with hundreds of drone strikes in Pakistan and Yemen. On Iran, administration officials point to tough sanctions and the president’s vow not to permit the country to obtain a nuclear weapon. 

David Patrick Houghton, a political scientist at the University of Central Florida and author of a book on the Iran hostage crisis, said the Carter comparisons were “mostly unfair” — both to Mr. Carter and Mr. Obama. He singled out as “utterly false” Mr. Romney’s claim that Mr. Reagan’s tough reputation caused Iran to release the American hostages just as he became president; in fact, the Carter administration had negotiated their release.

“This campaign has become a kind of opportunity to fling around bogus history,” he said.

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