Politics

Colin Powell questions Mitt Romney’s foreign policy: “C’mon, Mitt, think.”

“C’mon, Mitt, think.”

So said Colin Powell on Wednesday as he assessed Mitt Romney’s foreign policy views. Powell, appearing on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” said he wondered what Romney was thinking when he heard that Romney had declared that Russia was the top geopolitical foe of the United States. Powell said Romney’s comment about Russia was “catching a lot of heck from the more regular GOP foreign affairs community who were kind of taken aback by it.”

Powell, who served as secretary of state in the administration of George W. Bush, endorsed Barack Obama in 2008 and said he wasn’t ready to make an endorsement for 2012. But he made clear he is concerned about what he called the positions of some of Romney’s foreign policy advisers.

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“Some of them are quite far to the right, and sometimes they, I think, might be in a position to make judgments or recommendations to the candidate that should get a second thought,” Powell said.

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Powell did not name the advisers he is concerned about. But Romney’s advisers include John Bolton, who served in the George W. Bush administration as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security and US ambassador to the United Nations. Bolton is known as a tough neoconservative who has at times clashed with the more moderate Powell.

Powell’s comments highlighted what could be a major issue in the fall campaign. While the major issue is the economy, President Obama is hoping that his foreign policy successes, such as the killing of Osama bin Laden, will help him win reelection. Romney, meanwhlie, has criticized Obama’s foreign policy, saying, for example, that the United States should be tougher on Iran.

An Obama spokesman said Powell’s comment speaks for itself. A Romney spokesman did not immediately to respond to a request for comment.

Michael Kranish can be reached by email at kranish@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @GlobeKranish.