April 1st, 2012
02:16 PM ET

Clinton criticizes Romney's remarks on Russia

By Ashley Killough

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton hit back Sunday against Mitt Romney's comments this week that Russia is America's main "geopolitical foe."

Labeling Romney's words as "dated, "Clinton said in an interview with CNN there were more pressing matters of concern in global affairs.

"I think it's somewhat dated to be looking backwards instead of being realistic about where we agree, where we don't agree, "Clinton told CNN foreign affairs correspondent Jill Dougherty.

On Monday, Romney set off a firestorm of criticism when he described Russia as the country's primary enemy.

"In terms of a geopolitical foe, a nation that's on the Security Council, and as of course a massive nuclear power, Russia is the geopolitical foe," Romney said on CNN's "The Situation Room."

Romney's rivals, Republicans and Democrats alike, immediately jumped on his remarks and used them as an opportunity to paint the candidate as out of touch on foreign policy issues.

Russia's president, Dmitry Medvedev, also faulted Romney for the comment, saying it was "reminiscent of Hollywood."

While in Turkey for a conference on Sunday, Clinton held back from diving too heavily into politics but argued Russia no longer posed the threat it did in the 20th century.

"If you take a look at the world today, we have a lot of problems that are not leftovers from the past, but are of the moment, "Clinton said, pointing to Iran and its suspected nuclear development program as an example. "In many of the areas where we are working to solve problems, Russia has been an ally."

Echoing those sentiments, Vice President Joe Biden also weighed in Sunday on Romney's comments.

"Romney acts like he thinks the Cold War's still on,Russiais still our major adversary.  I don't know where he's been," Biden said on the CBS program "Face the Nation."

The vice president pointed to Russia's cooperation in transmitting material to troops in Afghanistan, as well as its participation in sanctions against Iran.

"This is not 1956," he added.

Responding to the barrage of attacks over his comments, Romney's campaign put out a statement earlier in the week defending the candidate's position on Russia.

"In contrast to President Obama, Governor Romney is clear-eyed about the geopolitical challenges Russia poses," Romney policy director Lanhee Chen said in a statement. "Russia's nuclear arsenal, its energy resources, its geographic position astride Europe and Asia, the veto it wields on the UN Security Council, and the creeping authoritarianism of its government make Russiaa unique geopolitical problem that frustrates progress on numerous issues of vital concern to the United States."

- CNN's Gabriella Schwarz contributed to this report.

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Filed under: 2012 Election • Biden • Hillary Clinton • Romney • Russia
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