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One of these two men possesses the judgment, understanding, character and skill to be President of the United States. (Psst, it's the guy on the left.)
In an interview with Telemundo, President Obama was asked if he considered the current Egyptian regime [headed by the leader of the Islamic Brotherhood] an ally of the United States. The question came in the aftermath of an uncomfortable silence from the Egyptian government in response to the attacks on our consulate in Cairo. (By contrast the Libyan government quickly condemned the attacks that led to the killing of the United States Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens,  in very strong terms, even apologizing for the events.) The president responded that:
I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy. They are a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident. [...] So far, at least what we've seen is in some cases, they have said the right things and taken the right steps. In others,  how they have responded to various events may not be aligned with our interests. So I think it is still a work in progress. Certainly in this situation, what we’re going to expect is that they are responsive to our insistence that our embassy is protected, our personnel is protected and if they take actions that indicate that they are not taking actions [...], that's going to be a real big problem.

Earlier this week, the President was asked by Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes what he thought of Mitt Romney's remarks regarding the attacks on US consulates:


The powerful portion of this statement was not the much-quoted "shoot first, aim later" phrase, but rather what came after:
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 them."
In an attempt to blunt the damage caused by Mitt Romney's character and judgment gaffe, some on the Right have attempted to seize upon the president's statement that "Egypt is not an ally" by calling it a gaffe. Fox went so far as to rely upon Jimmy Carter to buttress this argument.

The argument fails both on the substance and as a political tactic. Let me take the less important point first: the politics. Simply put, the dog won't hunt. And we know this because the Romney campaign did not pick it up. In fact, pressed on the very point by George Stephanopolos, Romney demurred ("if I were president, I would do virtually everything in my power to make sure they understand what the requirements are to remain an ally of the United States.")

One of the most important powers a president has in foreign policy is in what he or she says and how and when they say it. President Obama's statement was made with a full understanding of its ramifications and with an expectation that the Egyptian government would fully understand his message. The message was delivered and absorbed. Juan Cole wrote a post describing the Egyptian government's reaction to the president's  clearly delivered message: Obama Plays Hardball and Egypt’s Morsi Folds:

Under Obama’s pressure, Morsi, in Brussels seeking European aid, finally explicitly condemned Tuesday’s attack on the US embassy in Egypt:
[W]e don’t accept, condone, or approve at all for there to be attacks on embassies, consulates or people, or killing in any way. We want to cooperate with the entire world and we are cooperating now with the E.U. and the European people and with the American people and others and the U.S. administration to prevent such practices in the future. Also, we insist on the protection of persons, properties and embassies. The Egyptian people are very civilized and could not ever express their rejection of such practices with an attack on an embassy or person or consulate.
Some of Morsi’s sudden willingness to say all this was fueled by Obama’s pressure. [Emphasis added.]
Indeed it was. Understanding the power of a president's words, and using that power skillfully and with good judgment, is an essential characteristic for a president of the United States.

The events of the last week have demonstrated that President Obama possesses this understanding and the good judgment and character to exercise that power skillfully to the benefit of the nation. This week Mitt Romney demonstrated that he lacks this understanding and the good judgment and character to exercise this power properly.

Mitt Romney is not qualified to be president of the United States.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sat Sep 15, 2012 at 01:05 PM PDT.

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