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Embassy Attacks and Presidential Politics

By Suzanne Spurgeon  September 12, 2012

The world is watching as the U.S. reacts to the attack on its Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that killed 4 Americans including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens.  We've heard condemnations from President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton.  But it's Mitt Romney's condemnation of President Obama at this time that has puzzled many---including some in his own party. To be sure the GOP Presidential hopeful needs to speak out on this horrific attack, and the protest and attack at our Embassy in Cairo. The trouble is he appears to have been responding to a statement issued by embassy officials in Cairo, and not the President.  Embassy officials criticized, not the attackers, but the anti-Muslim film that may have sparked the Cairo attack. Romney called the President's response, "disgraceful."  As NBC's Andrea Mitchell pointed out in her reporting, the Cairo embassy statement was issued hours before the deadly attack in Libya.  When the President spoke later, he made it clear there is no justification for this violence.  

I believe a better response for Governor Romney would have been to strongly condemn the anti-American attacks on both Benghazi and Cairo, and not criticize the President at this stage.  The Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, Rep. Mike Rogers (R), got it right when he told Andrea Mitchell there would be time for a policy debate later.

President Obama has fired back saying Romney tends to "shoot first and aim later."   This is simply not a day for either President Obama or Governor Romney to play politics as usual.  What message is this sending around the world?



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