Romney's Libya Barbs Draw Big Backlash

Campaign hastily spreads memo urging GOP not to discuss them
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 12, 2012 1:38 PM CDT

(Newser) – Mitt Romney is taking a hail of fire today for attacking the president over a statement issued by the US embassy in Egypt, even as angry mobs killed Americans at the Libyan embassy. It "was dismal business in every respect," as well as "graceless and stupid as a matter of politics," writes David Frum for the Daily Beast. "The American people do not like politicians trying to exploit political mileage from the blood of our dead," agrees Denis Hamill of the New York Daily News. Here's more on the burgeoning political storm:

  • Over at Slate, Dave Weigel called Romney's double-down "a bit slippery," theorizing that Romney wants people to know he condemned "the 'apology' of the Obama administration, but not to know precisely what part of the administration apologized, or for what." (He helpfully provides a timeline to clarify that.)
  • Even Libya's ambassador to the US piled on. "It is sad to see some people trying to take advantage of the situation for political issues," he told Salon, though he didn't name Romney specifically.
  • Mother Jones also points out that when the "Mohammed cartoon" riots sprang up in 2006, George W. Bush put out a similar statement, saying, "We find them offensive, and we certainly understand why Muslims would find these images offensive."
  • Romney's Capitol Hill allies have largely left him out to dry, Politico reports. John Boehner, Mitch McConnell, and Eric Cantor all declined to even mention Obama in their remarks.
  • For that matter, the Washington Post observes that Paul Ryan didn't either.
  • Sensing a brewing disaster, the Romney campaign hastily distributed talking points to Republican leaders, urging them to attack Obama's "foreign policy of weakness," in general, but to dismiss questions about Romney's attacks, CNN reports.
  • But not everyone sees it as a disaster; GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos called it a potential "game changer," urging Romney "to go at this."
(Read more Mitt Romney stories.)

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