By Jonathan Easley - 01-28-15 14:57 PM EST
2012 GOP nominee Mitt Romney will begin building a case against Hillary Clinton in a speech at Mississippi State University on Wednesday evening as he mulls his own 2016 bid.
According to prepared remarks obtained by The Hill, Romney will attack the former secretary of State as clueless on foreign policy, out of touch on the economy, and will seek to tie the Democratic front-runner to President Obama’s record.
“Secretary of State Hillary Clinton cluelessly pressed a reset button for Russia, which smiled and then invaded Ukraine, a sovereign nation,” Romney will say.
His supporters believe that he’s been proven right on a host of issues that will be pertinent to voters who have buyer’s remorse with Obama, particularly on foreign policy. In 2012, Democrats mocked Romney for calling Russia the country's No. 1 geopolitical foe, but Republicans now argue his remarks were prescient.
His Wednesday speech will focus heavily on foreign policy and what he says are the failures of Clinton and Obama abroad.
“The president's dismissal of real global threats in his State of the Union address was naive at best and deceptive at worst,” Romney will say.
He’ll also accuse Obama being afraid to confront the dangers of radical Islam.
“Hundreds and perhaps thousands were slaughtered by radical jihadists,” Romney will say. “ISIS represents a new level of threat given its oil revenues, vast territory, and ability to recruit even in the West. I don't know how the President expects to defeat the jihadists if he won't even call them what they are.”
Romney is considering a third consecutive run for president. The news has been received coolly by many in the GOP, but he’s near the top of many polls, and he remains a looming establishment figure with considerable fundraising resources and a high profile.
He appears committed to reversing the narrative that dogged his 2012 campaign, when Democrats painted him as a wealthy financier who is out of touch with the working class.
“We need a president who will do what it takes to bring more good paying jobs to the placement offices of our college campuses,” Romney will say.
“We need to restore opportunity, particularly for the middle class. … How can Secretary Clinton provide opportunity for all if she doesn't know where jobs come from in the first place?” he’ll ask.
That’s an apparent jab at remarks Clinton made at a Boston rally last year.
"Don’t let anybody tell you that, you know, it's corporations and businesses that create jobs,” Clinton said at the time.
She later clarified the remarks, saying it was meant as a broader attack on corporate welfare.
The former Massachusetts governor will also address what has become a touchstone of many potential GOP contenders early in the campaign cycle — providing a path of upward mobility for the poor.
“We need to lift people out of poverty,” Romney will say. “Almost every week during my campaign, I met folks who had fallen into poverty as result of an unfortunate event, like losing a job. But I also met folks who had been in poverty from generation to generation. These we have to help escape the tragedy and the trap of chronic generational poverty.
That might be Romney’s toughest sell.
In 2012, he was famously caught on tape saying that 47 percent of voters “are dependent upon government” and will not back Republicans.
The comment has been an early focus for many potential GOP contenders, including Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), neurosurgeon Ben Carson, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-Pa.) and Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), who have argued the GOP needs to be the party of the 47 percent.
“For fifty years and with trillions of dollars, Washington has fought the war on poverty with failed liberal policies,” Romney will say. “They haven't made any headway whatsoever. It's finally time to apply conservative policies that improve America's education system, promote family formation and create good-paying jobs."