Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was criticized on Wednesday for criticizing President Barack Obama in the middle of a foreign policy crisis.
“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,” said Romney.
Romney’s attack, however, was quickly condemned by neutral observers, Democrats and Republicans. The embassy’s statement, which condemned “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” had been issued before the attack on the embassy. The statement was not cleared through Washington.
“We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack,” said Obama campaign spokesperson Ben LaBolt in a statement.
Nevertheless, Romney reiterated the attack on Wednesday, saying in a press conference that the embassy “clearly sent mixed messages to the world, and the statement that came from the administration, and the embassy is the administration. The statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a severe miscalculation.”
Deadly Attacks Kill Four
While nobody was injured in the attack on the embassy in Cairo, the assault on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi killed four Americans, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stephens.
In a televised statement, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks in no uncertain terms.
“This is an attack that should shock the conscience of people of all faiths around the world,” Clinton said. “We condemn in the strongest terms this senseless act of violence and we send our prayers to the families, friends and colleagues of those we’ve lost.”
Clinton added that the attacks had been carried out by a “small and savage group” that did not represent the Libyan government or people.
President Obama also condemned the “outrageous and shocking attack,” saying the victims “exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.”
Libya’s interim president, Mohammed el-Megarif, called the attack “cowardly,” and vowed to bring the attackers to justice.
“We extend our apology to America, the American people and the whole world,” el-Megarif said.
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