Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney slammed President Obama's record in the Middle East, accusing the president of being "passive," during his first major campaign speech on foreign policy Monday.
"I know the president hopes for a safer, freer and a more prosperous Middle East allied with the United States. I share this hope. But hope is not a strategy," Romney said at the Virginia Military Institute.
Romney said it's time to change course in the Middle East and accused Obama of "passivity."
The Republican challenger proposed that the United States take a more assertive role in Syria, calling for cooperation with other countries to help Syrian rebels defeat President Bashar Assad's army.
Romney Rides Momentum
Romney has continued to ride high on momentum gained from his first debate performance.
"You all had the chance to hear his answers, or his non-answers," Romney told supporters in Florida Sunday. "Now, of course, days later we're hearing his excuses, and next January we'll be watching him leave the White House for the last time."
A Rasmussen poll shows Romney getting a bounce from last week's debate in Denver, now leading Obama 49 percent to 47 percent among likely voters.
And a forecasting model out of the University of Colorado that has predicted every election accurately since 1980 says Romney will win the Electoral College 330 to 208.
Meanwhile, the president is fundraising in California Monday. In September, Democrats raised $181 million, shattering previous records.
At a celebrity fundraiser Sunday night, Obama made the first reference to his poor debate performance.
"They just perform flawlessly night after night. I can't always say the same," Obama said.
Obama is hoping last Friday's job's report will give him the momentum he needs going into the next round of debates.
The unemployment rate fell below 8 percent for the first time, coming in at 7.8 percent. The president said that number shows progress.
"More Americans entered the workforce. More people are getting jobs," the president said.
Recovery 'Not Good Enough'
But Romney said the recovery still isn't good enough.
"People in this country are having a hard time finding a job," the former Massachusetts governor charged. "People in this country are having a hard time making ends meet even if they do have a job."
Experts say even with more talk of foreign policy coming in the weeks before the election, the top concerns on voters' minds in November will be economic issues like jobs and unemployment.
Meanwhile, Romney's campaign is working to cut Obama's early voter advantage. Early voting has already started in more than 30 states.
In 2008, Obama had a huge advantage before Election Day even arrived.
But so far early Republican voters outnumber Democratic voters in Florida and North Carolina, while Democrats outnumber Republicans in Iowa.