MSNBC Host Asks if Democrats Were ‘Naive’ About Russia in 2012, Cites Romney’s Comments at Time

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MSNBC host Steve Kornacki asked Rep. Jackie Speier (D., Calif.) on Monday if Democrats were "naive" in 2012 for mocking then-Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney when he called Russia the country's top geopolitical threat.

Kornacki asked the question after FBI Director James Comey and NSA Director Adm. Mike Rogers told Speier at a congressional hearing earlier in the day that Russia is an adversary of the United States.

"You know, congressman, I was listening to that exchange and I did think back to the 2012 presidential campaign, when it was the Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, who said during that campaign he considered Russia our top geopolitical foe," Kornacki said.

"And the response from Democrats was ridicule, quite frankly, to the notion it seemed even of an adversarial relationship with Russia," he added before listing some of Russia's hostile actions since then, including the annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.

"Looking back, were Democrats guilty of being naive four or five years ago when they ridiculed Mitt Romney for saying that?" Kornacki asked Speier.

Speier mainly dodging the question, telling Kornacki, "I think we finally have recognized there's no way to reset that relationship."

"Under President Putin, he is a KGB operative from day one and he is out to maximize his position in the world, oftentimes using hybrid warfare," the California Democrat continued. "And I really think this actual influence into our election is an act of war."

Former President Obama ridiculed Romney during a 2012 presidential debate for his prior comments calling Russia the "number one geopolitical threat facing America."

"The 1980s are now calling to ask for their foreign policy back," Obama said.

Democrats at the time widely mocked Romney for seeing Moscow as such a threat.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton oversaw a "reset" of relations with Russia when Obama was president, which Speier appeared to be referencing in her answer.

During an interview with NPR, Clinton said, "Well, we're going to hit the reset button and start fresh because clearly the Obama administration believes that there are a number of important areas to discuss with the Russians."

Nick Bolger

Nick Bolger   Email Nick | Full Bio | RSS
Nick Bolger is a Media Analyst for the Washington Free Beacon. He is from southern Michigan. Nick graduated from Miami University with a Bachelors of Arts in Political Science in 2015.

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