The gunfire at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had barely ceased when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney 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.The AP points out a few pertinent facts. First, that Romney issued his statement attacking the administration while the crisis was still underway—nearly simultaneous with the news that at least one American had been killed, but before the State Department had found out that the U.S. ambassador was among the dead, or even knew where he was:
"The Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks," Romney said in a statement first emailed to reporters at 10:09 p.m. Eastern time, under the condition it not be published until midnight.The eagerness of his attack against the president was disturbing enough, but the basis of his attack was statements issued by the diplomats currently under siege. You would think that having riots outside of the building would, at least, grant the diplomats inside some leeway to state that no, they did not endorse the outrageously offensive anti-Muslim propaganda video that had started the riot, but according to Mitt the egregious error—which he then claimed was coming from Barack Obama directly, since Mitt Romney is an outright conspiracy troll, when it comes to blaming things on Obama—was that those diplomats would dare concede that much.
In fact, neither a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day nor a later statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered sympathy for attackers. The statement from the Cairo Embassy had condemned anti-Muslim religious incitement before the embassy walls were breached. In her statement, issued minutes before Romney's, Clinton had offered the administration's first response to the violence in Libya, explicitly condemning the attack there and confirming the death of a State Department official.
"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims - as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," the embassy said at 6:18 a.m. EDT, shortly after noon Cairo time.Apparently the Mitt Romney-John Bolton-Dan Senor approach would have been to instruct the diplomats to project the offensive movie on the side of the building, all the while swilling beers and shouting "free speech" at the furious crowd. Or maybe not, because the Romney camp issued a near-identical rejection of the movie later, after they had extracted Mitt's head from his ass. The same damn thing—so we'll just assume here that denouncing religious bigotries is, in fact, not contrary to American principles. Go figure.
That's the statement that Romney referred to as the administration's "first response." By Wednesday morning, the Republican nominee was at a podium in Jacksonville, Fla., saying that statement "appeared to be an apology for American principles."
The pure repulsiveness of the Mitt reaction (and yes, that damn pathological smirk is what turned his press conference from cravenness to outright repulsiveness) really has been shocking. He literally could not even wait until each American had been accounted for before attacking not just the president, but the statements of the very diplomats under siege. Why? Simply because he and his team saw a minor political opportunity in it.
I have to think that if Romney were some random jackass in Congress, people would be demanding his resignation outright. He lied about an ongoing crisis in which Americans were killed, he lied about those Americans, and he did it for his own political gain. He shouldn't be allowed to clean the White House toilets after a display like this, much less be thought of as actual presidential material.