New poll: Romney overtakes Obama on terrorism

The foreign-policy results of the new Bloomberg National Poll haven't gotten much attention yet, but the survey contains some bad news for the Obama campaign. According to the poll, Mitt Romney has a 48-42 advantage over Barack Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. Romney, in other words, has encroached on one of Obama's signature strengths.

What makes this result so surprising is that the president has consistently trounced Romney when it comes to counterterrorism. A Fox News poll earlier this month found that 49 percent of respondents trusted Obama to do a better job than Romney in protecting the United States from terrorist attacks, compared with 41 percent who put their faith in the Republican candidate. The president had a 51-40 advantage on handling terrorism in an ABC News/Washington Post poll around the same time, and a 50-35 edge on carrying out the war on terror in an Ipsos/Reuters poll in August. The Democrats' rare national-security muscle was on full display at their convention, where speakers boasted about the administration's successful raid against Osama bin Laden and targeted killings of al Qaeda leaders.  

The Bloomberg poll contains other grim findings for Obama -- such as declining approval of the president's diplomacy and a neck-and-neck battle between Obama and Romney on flashpoint campaign issues such as energy independence, Chinese trade practices, relations with Israel, and Iran's nuclear program (61 percent of respondents were skeptical about Obama's pledge to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon). There are also bright spots for the president, like healthy skepticism about Romney's promise to designate China a currency manipulator and Obama's continued advantage over Romney on the question of which candidate would be better suited to handle a Mideast crisis.

Significantly, Bloomberg's survey, which was conducted from Sept. 21-24, is one of the first polls to come out since the wave of anti-American protests in the Middle East. The key question: Is Romney's terrorism advantage an anomaly, or a sign that Obama is more vulnerable on national security after the unrest in the Middle East and the administration's shifting account of the deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi?

Given that a separate poll this weeks shows Obama besting Romney on national security among likely voters in swing states, it may be too early to answer that question.

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Iran warns citizens of the dangers of travel to Canada

A through-the-looking-glass moment form Iran's foreign ministry, as reported by the CBC:

Iran's foreign ministry says "Islamphobia" and "Iranophobia" are growing in Canada and Iranians who come to Canada could face possible arrest, attacks, expulsion and murder.

The government also warns Iranians to be careful not to walk into traps laid by criminal groups.

"Given the fact that Iran has no longer an embassy in Canada and some anti-Iranian groups in the country have a good opportunity to take revenge on the Iranian nationals, the nationals should be vigilant about the issue," the Tehran Times reported.

Apparently, Iran's foreign ministry also said that Iranians in Canada have lost the right to access their bank accounts to "do ordinary transactions."

Canada shut down its Tehran embassy and expelled Iran's remaining diplomats earlier this month over Iranian support for Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria.

According to government data from 2006, 121,510 people of Iranian descent live in Canada -- the country's 10th largest non-European, non-Native American ethnic group. 

Not everyone's quite so concerned about the growing tention. When President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad was asked about Iran-Canada relations by a CBC reporter in New York this week, he replied, "I fundamentally don't see this as a very important issue." So there.