It already had become obvious that Mitt Romney was a Foreign Policy light weight. That was reinforced today.Foreign Policy Hands Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement
Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy.Daniel Larison, who is very critical of Romney's Foreign Policy, had this to say.
Romney keyed his statement to the American Embassy in Cairo's condemnation of an anti-Muslim video that served as the trigger for the latest in a series of regional riots over obscure perceived slights to the faith. But his statement — initially embargoed to avoid release on September 11, then released yesterday evening anyway — came just before news that the American Ambassador to Libya had been killed and broke with a tradition of unity around national tragedies, and of avoiding hasty statements on foreign policy. It was the second time Romney has been burned by an early statement on a complex crisis: Romney denounced the Obama Administration's handling of a Chinese dissident's escape just as the Administration negotiated behind the scenes for his departure from the country.
"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.
Inevitably, the Romney campaign chose to use these attacks to make a hasty and stupid criticism last night, which represented the most tasteless political opportunism while also managing to misrepresent the administration’s response to the attacks. Here is the President’s statement on the Benghazi attack. Readers can judge for themselves, but it seems an appropriate initial response to me. There is no “sympathy” for the attackers to be found in that statement, and the Romney campaign’s attempt to use a foolish statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo as the official position of the administration was typically dishonest. Romney didn’t have much credibility on this front before last night, and he has even less now.NBC's First Thoughts:
*** Over the top : Yesterday we noted that Mitt Romney, down in the polls after the convention, was throwing the kitchen sink at President Obama. Little did we know the kitchen sink would include -- on the anniversary of 9/11 -- one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out) incorrect attacks of the general-election campaign . Last night after 10:00 pm ET, Romney released a statement on the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya. After saying he was “outraged” by these attacks and the death of an American consulate worker, Romney said, “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.” Yet after learning every piece of new information about those attacks, the Romney statement looks worse and worse -- and simply off-key. First, Romney was referring to a statement that the U.S. embassy in Egypt issued condemning the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” But that embassy statement, which the White House has distanced itself from, was in reference to an anti-Islam movie and anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, and it came out BEFORE the embassy attacks began. Then this morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.There can now be little doubt that Romney is a captive of the neoconservatives, the same ones that got into two horrible wars. This alone is reason enough to keep him out of the White House. If you liked George W. Bush you will love Romney.
Doug Mataconis wonders - Could Foreign Policy Cost Mitt Romney The Election?
The goal of the Obama campaign focusing on Romney and foreign policy is, quite obviously, to try to draw attention to the fact that in this particular area he isn’t prepared to be President. This is the kind of situation where it would be perfect for the Obama campaign to create its own variation on the famous “3:00am Phone Call” ad that Hillary Clinton’s campaign ran during their legendary fight for the Democratic nomination in 2008. It’s really all quite remarkable, and, as Buzzfeed points out, potentially pivotal:But of course Romney wasn't alone:
Instead of weakness, however, the Obama administration has projected strength. On the campaign trail, crowds become electrified when the president or his surrogates mention the killing of Bin Laden. The president talks about ending the war in Afghanistan, and protecting veterans. Romney, on the other hand, has fumbled. The past six weeks have seen a rocky overseas trip, followed by his failure to mention U.S. troops or the war in Afghanistan in his acceptance speech. And although foreign policy hasn’t been much of an issue in 2012 so far, the Obama campaign sees an opening to make it one. While still acknowledging that the election isn’t going to be decided by national security — the president and his campaign have gone all out to put doubts into the electorate about Romney’s ability to handle foreign affairs. Privately, Obama allies will make case that Romney and Ryan possess an almost Palin-esque naivete to the world. Publicly, too: Senator John Kerry linked Romney’s comments on Russia as the number one geopolitical threat with Palin’s comment on seeing that country from Alaska. Romney appears “reckless” and “out of touch,” as one campaign official put it. All of this is laying the groundwork for what could be one of the most pivotal moments of the campaign—the final presidential debate, just two weeks before the election. The topic: foreign policy.
Obama sympathizes with attackers in Egypt.Sad and pathetic.Update:
— Reince Priebus (@Reince) September 12, 2012
Obama himself nails Romney:
"There's a broader lesson to be learned here," Mr. Obama told "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft. "And I think -- you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that. That, you know, it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts. And that you've thought through the ramifications before you make 'em."