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Mitt Romney, John Bolton bash Obama for 'mission creep' in Libya

April 21, 2011 |  3:49 pm

A Libyan rebel fighter gestures as he and others make their way to the frontline on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Wednesday, April 20, 2011

This post has been corrected, please see note below.

Mitt Romney, the former Massachussets governor who trails billionaire Donald Trump in visibility among would-be GOP presidential candidates, stepped out in the limelight Thursday to criticize President Obama about what he calls "mission muddle."

"It is apparent that our military is engaged in much more than enforcing a no-fly zone, Romney wrote in the National Review. "What we are watching in real time is another example of mission creep and mission muddle."

Romney, who has yet to officially announce his plans to run for the GOP nomination, quoted former United States U.N. Ambassador John Bolton, who earlier wrote in the Boston Herald that Obama could be headed into a Libyan quagmire.

"Our Nobel Peace Prize-winning president has gotten things badly wrong," Bolton wrote. "By demanding Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster while restricting U.S. military force to the more limited objective of protecting civilians, Barack Obama has set himself up for massive strategic failure."

Romney, who would be in a dead heat with Obama if he did enter the race, according to a recent McClatchy-Marist poll, said the president should tell the nation his plans in Libya.

"The president owes it to the American people and Congress to immediately explain his new Libya mission and its strategic rationale," Romney wrote.

[For the record: 5:33pm 4/21/2011: a previous version of this post noted Mr. Romney's religion. Because that fact was unnecessary to the story, that descriptor has been removed.]

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Note: Andrew Malcolm is on vacation.

-- Tony Pierce
twitter.com/busblog

Photo: A Libyan rebel fighter gestures as he and others make their way to the frontline on the outskirts of Ajdabiya, Libya, Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Moammar Gadhafi's loyalists shelled the Nafusa mountain area and clashed with opposition forces in the besieged coastal city of Misrata Wednesday, rebels said, as the Libyan leader also sought to quell resistance in the western part of the country that is largely under his control. Credit: AP Photo/Bernat Armangue

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