The wimp from Bloomfield Hills has done it again. This morning, Mitt Romney doubled down on his embarrassingly tone deaf and flat out wrong accusations against Obama over the Libya and Egypt embassy attacks, saying “(T)he administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions.”
Excerpts from transcript from the Washington Post (emphasis mine):
I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.
The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.
Then he took questions (some of which are off mike):
ROMNEY: I think it’s a — a — a terrible course to — for America to — to stand in apology for our values. That instead, when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. An apology for America’s values is never the right course.
Thank goodness no one apologized for America. Next, Romney doubled down on blaming the Obama administration for a statement issued by the embassy that was under attack, afraid for their lives (note it was not a statement from Hilary Clinton):
QUESTION: Governor Romney, do you think, though, coming so soon after the event really has unfolded overnight was appropriate, to be weighing in on this as this crisis is unfolding in real time?
ROMNEY: The White House also issued a statement saying it tried to distance itself from those comments and said they were not reflective of their views. I had the exact same reaction. These views were inappropriate. They were the wrong course to take when our embassy has been breached by protesters. The first response should not be to say, “Yes, we stand by our comments that — that suggest that there’s something wrong with the right of free speech.”
QUESTION: So what did the White House do wrong, then, Governor Romney, if (inaudible) put out a statement saying (inaudible).
ROMNEY: It’s their administration. Their administration spoke. The president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth, but also from the words that come from his ambassadors from his administration, from his embassies, from his State Department.
They clearly — they clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement that came from the administration and the embassy is the administration. The statement that came from the administration was — was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a — a severe miscalculation.
Asked if he should have waited before attacking Obama, Romney says you never hesitate to attack (apparently unless you’re looking for Osama bin Laden, whom Romney assured us he wouldn’t go out of his way to find):
QUESTION: Governor, some people have said that you jumped the gun a little in putting that statement out last night, and that you should have waited until more details were available. Do you regret having that statement come out so early before we learned about all the things that were happening?
ROMNEY: I don’t think we — we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principles. We express immediately when we feel that the president and his administration have done something which is inconsistent with the principles of America. Simply put, having an embassy which is — has been breached and has protesters on its grounds, having violated the sovereignty of the United States, having that embassy reiterate a statement effectively apologizing for the right of free speech is not the right course for an administration.
Most brutally, your heretofore asleep press asked yet another real question of significance:
QUESTION: How specifically, Governor Romney, would President Romney have handled this situation differently than President Obama? You (ph) spoke out before midnight when all the facts were known. How would you have handled this differently than the president did?
ROMNEY: I spoke out when the key fact that I referred to was known, which was that the Embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be an apology for American principles. That was a mistake. And I believe that when a mistake is made of that significance, you speak out.
Mitt Romney looks at this situation this morning and all he sees is that he was correct in issuing inflammatory and inaccurate statements last night because the only key fact that mattered was some alleged apology for American ideals given in the face of a deadly attack.
I say Mitt Romney doubled down because last night, without waiting until he had the facts about the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya, Mitt Romney was so hungry for something to pounce on Obama over, and so flummoxed was he that he’s not able to hold Obama down and cut his hair or order him to hand over his business, that he could not wait until 9/11 was over before he and the Chairman of the RNC accused President Obama of sympathizing with the attackers. Reince Priebus tweeted, “Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt. Sad and pathetic.”
Romney said last night, reneging on his word not to campaign on 9/11 (unless you count 12:01AM as living up to the spirit of the agreement), “It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
Course, Mitt was wrong. Way wrong. It turns out that Terry Jones, best known for his insane hatred of Muslims and this President, promoted an anti-Muslim web video mocking the Prophet Muhammad (made in California, by the way, with money from undisclosed donors), and that served as the catalyst to the violent anti-American protests.
The frightened people in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo attempted to cool the feelings of the protesters, saying they condemned “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims, as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.”
Somehow that was a) wrong and b) Obama’s fault in Mitt’s world. That’s just how Mitt Romney rolls.
Never mind that there were people inside the embassy scared for their lives. In fact, I believe we all tried to make this point when Republicans were ginning up hate against Muslims in this country. We tried to point out then how they were endangering our diplomats and our troops. Naturally, they didn’t listen.
Four Americans were killed, including Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya. How does a real stateswoman react? SOS Hilary Clinton issued this statement Tuesday night, “The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”
It’s disgraceful that Reckless Romney pounced on a tragedy in order to score political points, but Mitt Romney is a spoiled little boy, not a grown man. And now he looks like a fool. Yesterday Putin used Romney’s Russia gaffe as an excuse to oppose our missile defense plans and today, the glee in Romney’s attack on Obama stinks to high heaven.
Let us not forget that this is the same Mitt Romney who yesterday told us that foreign policy was a distraction, but this morning, after making a desperate fool of himself on foreign policy, announced the new topic of the day was going to be debt (on the day when four people were killed).
Mitt Romney often inaccurately accuses President Obama of apologizing for America, earning him a pants-on-fire from PolitFact. This is the same Mitt Romney who alienated our allies on his foreign policy tour. And the same Mitt Romney who said of Osama bin Laden, “It’s not worth moving heaven and earth, spending billions of dollars just to capture one person.”
On the other side of the coin, we have President Obama’s statement today, which shows how a real leader handles crisis. Unlike Mitt Romney, President Barack Obama doesn’t bluster his way through foreign policy playing the thin skinned American who is so easily insulted by anyone, even in the face of death, allegedly apologizing for America. Obama doesn’t need to run around finding umbrage under every stone, because President Obama is not putting on a show of American values; he’s living them.
Obama uses diplomacy first and sanctions next. But when he says enough, it really is enough.
What could possibly be more shameful or more un-American than using an attack on American embassies that killed four people to take aim at the President of the United States on the eve of 9/11, after pledging not to campaign on that tragic anniversary? Add to this the fact that Romney got it wrong, and this episode should awaken Americans to the very real threat of having someone as craven and ignorant of foreign policy as Mitt Romney at the helm of this great nation at a time of global turmoil.
Mitt Romney just reminded Americans of George W Bush’s eight years of foreign policy blunders, but even W wouldn’t have gone where Mitt went today. Enough.
Ms. Jones is the co-founder/ editor-in-chief of PoliticusUSA and a member of the White House press pool.
Sarah hosts Politicus News and co-hosts Politicus Radio. Her analysis has been featured on several national radio, television news programs and talk shows, and print outlets including Stateside with David Shuster, as well as The Washington Post, The Atlantic Wire, CNN, MSNBC, The Week, The Hollywood Reporter, and more.
Sarah is a member of the Society of Professional Journalists.