NYT's Ashley Parker's Opening Line on Romney Speech: 'Facing Criticism...'

New York Times campaign reporter Ashley Parker tried to put Mitt Romney on the back foot from the opening sentence of her article on his speech to the National Guard convention in Reno: "After Criticism of His Convention Speech, Romney Thanks Nation's Armed Forces."

Facing criticism for failing to mention American troops or the Afghan war effort in his convention speech, Mitt Romney spoke before National Guard members on Tuesday and called for robust support of the nation’s armed forces, saying that “the return of our troops cannot and must not be used as an excuse to hollow out our military through devastating defense budget cuts.”

Mr. Romney highlighted the threat of automatic Pentagon cuts after a failure to reach a budget deal in Congress -- a theme he has used recently to hammer the Obama administration. And he offered effusive praise of Guard members, who have been called to service repeatedly in recent conflicts.

“The attack on our homeland and citizens on Sept. 11, 2001, reminds us that the mission of the Guard is ever more critical, and ever more deserving of our support and honor,” he said.

The speech was a moment for Mr. Romney to move the discussion of his defense and foreign policy credentials beyond the critiques of his speech, and to direct the conversation toward the threat of automatic military cuts if Congress does not reach a deal on substitute reductions by the end of the year.

The Times found it convenient to approvingly cite conservative Bill Kristol criticizing Romney:

Eager to exploit what they perceive as a foreign policy opening against the Republican nominee, Democrats attacked Mr. Romney over his Afghanistan omission, with Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. making an issue of it on the campaign trail and Senator John Kerry criticizing it during his own convention speech.

Mr. Romney’s speech has also drawn the ire of some on the right. Just hours after Mr. Romney wrapped up his address in Tampa, Fla., on Aug. 30, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard and a former Op-Ed columnist for The New York Times, took to his magazine’s Web site to fault Mr. Romney. “Has it ever happened that we’ve been at war and a presidential nominee has ignored, in this kind of major and formal speech, the war and our warriors?” Mr. Kristol wrote.

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