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Mitt Romney's Comment says a lot

Updated on January 18, 2013

When Mitt Romney criticized the statement released by the United States Embassy in Cairo, he probably hoped that he would sound strong and forceful in his support of the United States. He didn't. He sounded like a man with no plan, who had just made a big mistake in delving into matters of foreign policy. For one thing, when a candidate for the Presidency wades into an issue of international implications, it might help that candidate to get his facts straight. He might also want to make sure that people actually agree with what he has just said. And he should make his remarks as un-divisive as possible.

Romney did none of those things. Instead, when he smelled blood, Romney leaped forward to reap a huge political profit by portraying the Obama Administration as having sided with the attackers. If only that had actually happened. Here is what Romney had to say about the statement issued by the U.S Embassy in Cairo; "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. 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."

The facts are a little messier than Romney would have liked. The statement issued by the U.S Embassy in Cairo was released hours before the attacks that killed four Americans, including an ambassador, Chris Stevens, in Benghazi. Nor is there any evidence that anyone within the Obama Administration had actually "sympathized" with the attackers. Romney dug himself into his new hole even further when, the very next day, he doubled down on the hard line stance he had already taken.

Romney's next mistake was to assume that fellow Republicans would back him up. John McCain, who has had serious disagreements with Obama's handling of foreign policy before, issued a statement that failed to mention Romney or Obama, but had plenty of praise for Hillary Clinton's statement, saying that it had "the right message and the right tone." Then things got worse when Tom Ridge, who once served as secretary of Homeland Security under the Bush Administration, said "I don't think President Obama sympathizes with those who attacked us," in an interview. One Republican called the statement "Romney's Lehman moment."

Romney might have taken a hint that his remarks were unpopular even within his own party. Instead of backing down, Romney just went on digging his political grave.

But the real problem here is Romney's apparent intent; to use a tragedy overseas for political gain. Four Americans have been killed, on September 11th of all days. Americans have historically come together when fellow citizens are attacked or killed. When others attack us unjustly, we Americans stick together. At a moment when we should all be expressing support for the families of the four men who died, Romney comes along and levels baseless accusations against the President. Romney did himself no good with his remarks. He had a chance to prove that he was a leader who could unite us in troubled times. Now he looks more like a politician.




Mitt Romney Criticizes Obama Administration Over Response To ...


Romney foreign policy attack was disgraceful - CNN.com

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    • William Young profile image

      William Young 4 years ago from Eaglle Grove, Iowa

      Nathan,

      I agree that Romney may have jumped the gun a little and come off as being just a little too eager to throw criticism at the president for the events of this past week. However, I have to join with many others who feel that the incredibly weak, conciliatory tone coming out of our American consulates does absolutely nothing to improve our security in the region and promote peace. We are dealing with people who want to kill us no matter what we say or do. That having been said if Romney was going to say that he should have been more confident in his tone. He sounded a little wishy-washy when confronted by the media on this the other day.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago

      Mitt Romney? Presidential? Sorry, but his statement was not in the best of taste. Even fellow Republicans are backing Obama up on this one. Obama's tone was disinterested only to someone who detests Obama and his policies; to me, they were calm, measured and yes, unemotional. Would you rather see our President panic?

      As far as I can see, Romney made his statement in too much haste, without knowing all of the facts (or betting on our ignorance of the facts) while in a panic about the fact that he was losing ground in the polls. That is not Presidential material. That is the mark of a politician, not a leader.

      One thing is for sure; this will not help Romney close the huge gap he faces on foreign policy. He waded into a debate that he has no credibility on. Now, he has even less.

    • Conservative Lady profile image

      Sheila 4 years ago from Surprise Arizona - formerly resided in Washington State

      Mitt Romney presented himself as "presidential" something I have yet to see from Obama. Do you prefer the stance Obama took? Go to Vegas, talk with "Pimp with the Limp" and then go on Letterman in the midst of all this tragedy. When Obama did speak it was with a disinterested tone and unemotional - what makes you think that wasn't divisive ? I agree with Internpete.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago

      johndnathan,

      You have that right. We can all disagree on the little things in this election, but there is no denying that it has gone way beyond any normal election cycle.

    • johndnathan profile image

      John D Nathan 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas. USA

      With all that's happened this is turning into a much more interesting election than was previously thought.

    • Nathan Orf profile image
      Author

      Nathan Orf 4 years ago

      What experience would that be?

    • internpete profile image

      Peter V 4 years ago from At the Beach in Florida

      I would prefer Mitt's experience over Barak's, in almost any situation.