John Kerry to praise President Obama’s conduct of foreign policy

WASHINGTON—Playing the role of both statesman and partisan provocateur, Massachusetts Senator John F. Kerry on Thursday evening is planning to make the case that President Obama “is giving new life and truth to America’s indispensable role in the world” and Republican challenger Mitt Romney is “out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad, and out of the mainstream,” according to excerpts of his prepared remarks.

The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations committee and his party’s nominee for president in 2004, Kerry was tapped to play chief surrogate for Obama on foreign policy at the Democratic National Convention in Charlotte, N.C., and will take the stage ahead of the acceptance speeches of Obama and Vice President Joe Biden.

“Our opponents like to talk about ‘American Exceptionalism,’” Kerry plans to say. “But all they do is talk. They forget that we are exceptional not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things. The only thing exceptional about today’s Republicans is that—almost without exception—they oppose everything that has made America exceptional in the first place.

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“Just measure the disaster and disarray this president inherited: A war of choice in Iraq had become a war without end, and a war of necessity in Afghanistan had become a war of neglect. Our alliances were shredded. Our moral authority was in tatters. America was isolated in the world.’’

Kerry’s remarks will also be infused with withering criticism of Romney, particularly a lack of clarity on the war in Afghanistan.

“It isn’t fair to say Mitt Romney doesn’t have a position on Afghanistan,” according to Kerry’s prepared remarks. “He has every position.”

Arms control, an issue that Kerry has championed in the Senate, is another issue he will use to argue that Romney does not understand international affairs and national security. “Every president of both parties for 60 years has worked for nuclear arms control – but not Mitt Romney,” the speech says. “Republican secretaries of state—from Kissinger to Baker, Powell to Rice, President Bush, and 71 United States senators—all supported President Obama’s New START Treaty. But not Mitt Romney.

“So here’s the choice in 2012: Mitt Romney – out of touch at home, out of his depth abroad, and out of the mainstream Or, Barack Obama – a president giving new life and truth to America’s indispensable role in the world, a commander in chief who gives our troops the tools and training they need in war—the honor and help they’ve earned when they come home. A man who will never ask other men and women to fight a war without a plan to win the peace.”