Mitt Romney has not been able to outrun the firestorm that he set off after he issued a response to the attacks on the US Embassies in Egypt and Libya. While Romney has had some support from Conservatives, he has largely been hammered from both sides regarding his decision to attack President Obama over the decision by the Cairo Embassy to try and assuage some of the anger felt by the Egyptian people over an incendiary anti-Islamic film.
An attack staged in the confusion of the protests claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean “Vile Rat” Smith (an avid gamer, Smith was known in EVE online as Vile Rat), former SEAL Glen Doherty, and one other.
Romney made his attack against President Obama by distorting the timeline of the riots, and has been seen by some as engaging in bad politics by making the attack. Andrea Mitchell of NBC talked to Rachel Maddow last night (video follows story) in which Mitchell stated “It was one of those moments where the character and the policy were both revealed.” Mitchell also believes that Romney may have been trying to play to some of the Republicans who have seen him as weak.
Mitchell also said “I think they were looking for an opportunity…This is a serious business. This is not the stuff of combative political press releases. I can’t recall, Rachel, and I don’t think you can, another time when the United States was under fire, literally, where a presidential candidate in either party put out a press release.
Conservative pundit Peggy Noonan attacked Romeny on FOX News, and said in the Wall Street Journal that “Romney looked weak today. At one point, he had a certain slight grimace on his face when he was taking tough questions from the reporters, and I thought, ‘He looks like Richard Nixon.’”
Not even Bill O’Reilly could defend Romney saying on his show that “I’m not sure the Governor is correct on that. The embassy was trying to head off the violence. Being conciliatory in that kind of a situation seems logical.”
Some have likened the incident to the decision by Senator John McCain to rush back to Washington DC as the economic collapse of Lehman Brothers was beginning. That move along with the choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate are seen as being what cost McCain the election in 2008.
The Washington Post called Romney’s response, and his continued criticism of the Obama Administration “a discredit to his campaign”. The LA Times called it “an outrageous exercise in opportunism.” The Boston Globe found it offensive on many levels. The AP slammed Romney for how he “seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of ‘disgraceful’ handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.”
Romney had his supporters, of course. Most of them were the ones supporting Romney from the beginning. Ann Coulter informed Sean Hannity that she believed that the media was ‘screaming bloody murder’ because of how devastating Romney’s attack was to Obama. She stated “If he hadn’t struck gold with that, they wouldn’t all be doing this. But that’s their response to everything Romney says. ‘Oh, can you believe he said that?’ Yeah, actually, I can. I can’t believe what Obama said.”
The Weekly Standard’s Steve Hayes also attacked the media on FOX News saying “What we’re witnessing is perhaps a partial collapse of the Obama doctrine, the ‘leading from behind’ manifesto that has governed the way the administration conducted foreign policy over the past three-and-a-half years. And all we heard about all day today was the media and whether Mitt Romney should have put out a statement at that time.”
The WSJ editorial board tried to minimize the statement by saying “His political faux pax was to offend a pundit class that wants to cede the foreign policy debate to Mr. Obama without thinking seriously about the trouble for America that is building in the world.”