Santorum drops out
Rick Santorum, the
last credible rival for the GOP nomination, dropped
out of the race on Wednesday leaving a clear path for front-runner and
presumptive nominee Mitt Romney. "This
game is a long, long, long way from over," Santorum told supporters. "We are
going to continue to go out there and fight to make sure that we defeat President
Barack Obama." Notably, Santorum did not mention Romney in his concession.
With 651 delegates, Romney may have the contest all wrapped
up, but nobody appears to have told Newt
Gingrich, who still vows
to stay in the race until Romney collects the 1,144 delegates needed to
clinch the nomination. "I want to do what I do best, which is talk about
big solutions and big approaches," Gingrich told CNN's Wolf Blitzer. "I want to keep
campaigning." But $4.5 million in debt, Gingrich's campaign suffered
a further indignity this week when its $500 check for the filing fee to
appear on the Utah primary ballot bounced.
On Thursday night (EDT), North Korea attempted
-- but failed -- in an attempt to launch a satellite into orbit. Though the
botched launch of the long-range missile, which broke apart before entering
orbit, was a humiliation for North Korea's young leader Kim Jong Un, it also essentially
scuttled a year of diplomatic outreach by the Obama administration, which
culminated in a now-nullified deal on Feb. 29 under which Pyongyang agreed to
suspend its uranium enrichment program in exchange for food aid.
The Romney campaign was quick to respond with
a statement saying that the launch demonstrated the "incompetence" and
weakness of the Obama administration's foreign policy. "Instead of
approaching Pyongyang from a position of strength, President Obama sought to
appease the regime with a food-aid deal that proved to be as naive as it was
short-lived," he said.
A cold shoulder to
Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff was in
Washington on Monday for a White House meeting with Barack Obama. But in contrast to her fellow BRICS leaders Hu Jintao
and Manmohan Singh, arguably the second most powerful leader in the Western
hemisphere got only
a 2-hour meeting with the president on a day dominated
by the White House lawn Easter Egg roll. The Brazilian government has
repeatedly criticized Washington for monetary and interest rate policies that
they say unfairly advantage U.S. exports and for visa requirements for
Brazilian travelers that take up to 35 days to process.
The two leaders will meet again this weekend at the Summit
of the Americas in Cartagena, Colombia.
Public support for the war in Afghanistan has fallen to an
all-time low according to a new Washington Post-ABC poll, with only
30 percent of respondents saying it has been worth the effort and expenditure.
For the first time, a majority of Republicans do not approve of the war. As to
the president's leadership, 48 percent of those polled approve of Obama's
handling of the war, while 43 percent disapprove. In a sign of an accelerated
effort to transfer responsibility to Afghan forces, the United States agreed
this week to hand
over control of the controversial nighttime raids that were once seen as
critical to winning the war.
Romney may have a steep hill to climb if he aims to win the
foreign-policy fight in the campaign. New
polling shows that voters trust Obama over the GOP frontrunner by a 15 percent
margin. Writing for Foreign Policy, Washington
Post polling analyst Scott Clement notes that "Romney's weakness on foreign
policy doesn't appear to result from Obama's strengths. Americans give Obama
middling ratings on international affairs overall: 47 percent approve while 44
After the bruising primary, Romney appears to have sketched
out a decidedly
hawkish platform on foreign policy. Moving into the general election, with
Americans increasingly skeptical of military action abroad, it remains to be
seen whether the candidate will moderate his views to appear to undecided
What to watch for:
Latin American summits are typically a good showcase for
behavior. Obama's opponents will likely be on the lookout to see how the
president interacts with Venezuelan President Hugo Chávez. He was criticized for embracing the leftist leader in
The latest from
Aaron David Miller says the notion that presidents have more "flexibility"
to act in their second terms
is a myth.
Will Imboden gives
six reasons we should hope Obama's not more flexible.
Daniel Drezner questions
Romney's seriousness on foreign policy.
Michael A. Cohen looks
at who's leading on the big
international issues that will define the contest between Romney and Obama.
at the highlights
of the Santorum campaign.
Jeff Swensen/Getty Images