GREENWOOD, S.C. – In a slip of the tongue, Republican Mitt Romney accused Democratic presidential contender Barack Obama of urging terrorists to congregate in Iraq.
In the midst of criticizing Obama and other Democrats on foreign and economic policy Tuesday, the GOP presidential hopeful said:
"Actually, just look at what Osam — Barack Obama — said just yesterday. Barack Obama, calling on radicals, jihadists of all different types, to come together in Iraq. That is the battlefield. ... It's almost as if the Democratic contenders for president are living in fantasyland. Their idea for jihad is to retreat, and their idea for the economy is to also retreat. And in my view, both efforts are wrongheaded."
Romney apparently was referring to an audiotape aired Monday in which a speaker believed to be terrorist Osama bin Laden called for insurgents in Iraq to unite and avoid divisions. The authenticity of the tape aired on Al-Jazeera television could not be immediately confirmed.
Romney also said: "It's my personal belief that having someone like John Edwards, a senator, who goes out and communicates that there is no global war on terror — that it's just a Bush bumper sticker — I think that is a position that is not consistent with the facts."
Romney was addressing a Chamber of Commerce meeting. Spokesman Kevin Madden said: "He misspoke. He was referring to the audiotape of Osama bin Laden and misspoke. It was just a mix-up."
Obama spokesman Bill Burton said, "Apparently, Mitt Romney can switch names just as casually as he switches positions, but what's wrongheaded is continuing a misguided war in Iraq that has left America less safe."
Edwards said Romney has forgotten his own characterization of the war on terrorism.
"First of all, he's got seeming amnesia. He himself has said that we're not in a war in terror — I'll paraphrase it — terrorists are at war with us," said Edwards, who argued that Romney should apologize to Obama whether he intended or not to call him bin Laden.