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.It was immediately obvious that this statement was as crass as it was desperate—Romney, who couldn't bring himself to thank American troops serving in Afghanistan during his acceptance speech, and whose campaign dismissed foreign policy as a "shiny object" just yesterday, suddenly deciding to elevate foreign policy? Clearly, any time something bad happens to America, Romney sees it as an opportunity to score points. I'm not saying he was happy last night, but he sure was fast to attempt to capitalize, wasn't he?
This kind of political opportunism isn't surprising coming from Mitt Romney. It's just another example of his utter lack of conviction—other than the conviction that he is entitled to do or say whatever it takes to win. But what this statement does illustrate is that Mitt Romney doesn't have what it takes to be president. Political attacks are one thing. But Romney launched this particular political attack without knowing all the facts.
As it turns out, four Americans were killed, including our Ambassador to Libya. Romney issued his statement before those basic facts were in. Given the nature of Romney's statement—a political attack based on a false characterization of what President Obama had done—that sort of shooting from the hip reveals a lack of impulse control that we simply cannot afford to have in a president.
So yes, I'm angry that Mitt Romney is trying to exploit this. But the recklessness with which he tried to exploit this is even more troubling. If you have your finger on the nuclear button, you need to be cool, calm, and collected. And Mitt Romney's response shows that he's not.
6:42 AM PT: President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton will give a statement from the White House at 10:35 AM ET. If Mitt Romney wants to see how a real president conducts himself (or herself, for that matter), he should tune in.6:48 AM PT:
6:49 AM PT: Secretary Clinton will give a statement before the President's Rose Garden statement, but she will attend the White House event.
6:50 AM PT: Mitch McConnell following in the footsteps of John Boehner and Eric Cantor: "We will stand united in our response," he says on the senate floor.
6:55 AM PT: Very weird:
6:59 AM PT: Secretary Clinton is delivering her comments now. "This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths. We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence."
7:02 AM PT: This is even weirder:
7:05 AM PT: "Let me be clear, there is no justification for violence like this," Clinton says. Are you listening Mitt?7:11 AM PT:
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 .
7:16 AM PT: Romney just took podium.
7:19 AM PT: "I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing" with the attackers "instead of condemning" the attackers. Two sentences later, Romney says the administration "distanced itself" from the statement that he just said it had stood by. Romney can't even keep his story straight from sentence to sentence. But he's standing by his attack.
7:21 AM PT: Romney is digging himself so deep here.7:22 AM PT:
7:23 AM PT: Did Romney jump the gun? "I don't think we ever hesitate when we see something which is a violation of our principals."
7:23 AM PT: Then he says he won't respond to hypotheticals about what he would have said had he actually known what has happening in Egypt.
7:24 AM PT: I'd like to see a reporter ask Romney to quote from a statement issued by the administration and say specifically what he disagreed with. Because so far as I can tell, everything he is saying he's making up out of thin air.7:25 AM PT:
7:25 AM PT: "The embassy of the United States issued what appeared to be an apology for American principals. That was a mistake." And then Romney leaves podium.7:28 AM PT: