Andrea Mitchell Dismisses Romney VFW Reception: It's a 'Very Conservative' Group

Minutes after Mitt Romney addressed the Veterans of Foreign Wars on Tuesday, NBC chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell appeared on MSNBC to downplay the GOP candidate's positive reception: "...this is a conservative group....This is a very conservative foreign policy group and there's no question that they would be predisposed, I think, more towards being in the Republican camp than the Democratic camp."

Mitchell was responding to host Craig Melvin fretting over Romney's tone in the speech: "...a fairly aggressive attack. I don't know if that's exactly what we were expecting from his address there at the VFW. A stark contrast to what we heard from President Obama yesterday before that same group." Mitchell added: "...it did appear that at least those who were attending today were certainly much more fired up about Mitt Romney than they had been about President Obama."

Earlier in the discussion, Mitchell referred to the speech as "a wide-ranging attack on President Obama" and predicted: "Mitt Romney is yet to be specific, and I think this is the push-back you're going to get from the White House."

Wrapping up the segment, Mitchell again promised an Obama campaign response would soon follow: "Romney used a lot of charges, you know, accusing the President of being an apologist, as I say, accusing the White House of leaking, and these sort of things that are not rebutted yet by the Obama team and I think you're going to hear a lot more rebuttal from the President's surrogates-" Melvin interjected: "I'm sure someone's crafting an e-mail right now." Mitchell replied: "They, in fact, already are."


Here is a full transcript of the July 24 exchange:

2:35PM ET

CRAIG MELVIN: I want to bring in Andrea Mitchell, our chief foreign affairs correspondent who also just heard that speech. Again, Andrea, that was a wide range – a wide-ranging speech there. He did not mention Syria at all.

ANDREA MITCHELL: And in fact, it was a wide-ranging attack on President Obama, calling him an apologist. Yet, at the same time, Mitt Romney is yet to be specific, and I think this is the push-back you're going to get from the White House, he has not been specific about what exactly he would do with Iran and the sanctions that this president has not done.

So he has laid out a contrast but not a specific policy. And I think it's – he's going to be hard pressed to do that on a foreign policy trip because there is certainly a tradition of not criticizing an incumbent president when you are overseas for an opposition candidate. So if he does criticize the President in Israel, in London, or in Poland on this trip, I think he's going to be criticized for that himself.

MELVIN: That was – that was, as you mentioned, a fairly aggressive attack. I don't know if that's exactly what we were expecting from his address there at the VFW. A stark contrast to what we heard from President Obama yesterday before that same group.

MITCHELL: Well, one of the things that is very notable, I think – it's hard not being in the room to judge it, I like to cover these campaigns by actually being there and seeing the contrast – but it did appear that at least those who were attending today were certainly much more fired up about Mitt Romney than they had been about President Obama. Now it could have been a different contingent of Veterans of Foreign Wars. But this is a conservative group. This is the group that back in 2001, that Dick Cheney chose to give that big speech which sort of was the precursor, in August, of the Iraq war, the first hint that we really were going to end up invading Iraq. And so they're – attacking Iraq. This is a very conservative foreign policy group and there's no question that they would be predisposed, I think, more towards being in the Republican camp than the Democratic camp.

That said, Mitt Romney used a lot of charges, you know, accusing the President of being an apologist, as I say, accusing the White House of leaking, and these sort of things that are not rebutted yet by the Obama team and I think you're going to hear a lot more rebuttal from the President's surrogates-

MELVIN: I'm sure someone's crafting an e-mail right now.

MITCHELL: They, in fact, already are.

MELVIN: Chief foreign affairs correspondent Andrea Mitchell. Andrea, always a pleasure. Thank you so much.

MITCHELL: You bet.

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC