Mitt Romney is getting the full John Kerry treatment on national security — and some top Republicans are alarmed by what they see as his ham-handed response to it.

Romney — whose convention speech didn’t include a salute to the troops or a reference to Afghanistan, where about 75,000 Americans are still at war — is getting hit almost daily now by Democratic attacks that he is wobbly and therefore untrustworthy on national security.

It’s the same critique Republicans used to undermine Kerry to devastating effect eight years ago — and the Obama campaign plans to use the run-up to the presidential debates to make a major issue of Romney’s surprising convention stumble.

Retired Army Gen. Wesley Clark, an Obama surrogate, said Monday that the GOP nominee’s approach has been “unbecoming of someone who wants to become commander in chief.” Clark was building on a very personal critique of Romney that started with Kerry himself at last week’s Democratic convention and was quickly followed by Vice President Joe Biden and then President Barack Obama.

Romney, who aides say has downplayed national security in speeches and in the campaign to focus on the economy, will seek to repair any damage on Tuesday, the 11th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks, when he speaks to a crowd of 4,000 at the annual conference of the National Guard Association in Reno, Nev. What might have been a standard patriotic speech has become a more urgent mission to reset the national security debate for the last nine weeks of the campaign, aides said.

Read More at Politico. By Mike Allen and Jim Vandehei.

Get the news the mainstream media doesn't report. Sign up to get our daily newsletter and like us on Facebook