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FLASHBACK 2011 -- Mitt Romney: Iraq pullout a "signature failure" for Obama

(Reuters) DECEMBER 22, 2011 -- Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney on Thursday attacked U.S. President Barack Obama for a "signature failure" to keep some troops in Iraq to prevent the country falling back into sectarian conflict.

Just days after U.S. troops left Iraq, a wave of bombings killed at least 72 people in Baghdad on Thursday. The Shi'ite-led government is engulfed in a crisis that risks fracturing Iraq along sectarian and ethnic fault lines.

A consistent front-runner in polls of Republicans, Romney said he feared leaving Iraq without a stabilization force could put the hard-earned successes and victories there at risk.

"I hope that risk is not realized. I hope that we're able to see stability there but the president's failure to secure an agreement and maintain 10,000 to 30,000 troops in Iraq has to be one of his signature failures," he told Reuters.

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