Romney Response To Middle East Crisis Shows He Is Not Ready To Lead

One of the nagging questions among many of us following politics is why everyone doesn’t realize that Mitt Romney is a pathological liar who says anything which he thinks will help his campaign, with total disregard for the truth. This was the day that many in the mainstream media who either failed to realize this, or considered it inappropriate to discuss, are now writing about this. Mitt Romney has finally gone too far for even some people who support his campaign and as a result his chances to win might have evaporated as John McCain’s chances to win ended when it became apparent that he was clueless as to how to respond to the financial melt down in 2008.

This was not supposed to be an election about foreign policy, but only if voters assume that the candidate of each party is competent to handle national security. Barack Obama himself demonstrated that an extraordinary individual might do an outstanding job without prior experience. Mitt Romney, however, is not an extraordinary individual, and his strengths lie in areas far removed from national security, or for that matter, any positions of leadership in government. Need someone to tear down a company, make money off its assets, and put people out of jobs–Mitt Romney will do an excellent job of this and make a good profit. Want someone who has any idea as to how to handle national security issues? Mitt Romney is like a Sarah Palin who couldn’t even see Russia from her house.

While there was a plan for both campaigns to avoid political attacks on the anniversary of the 9/11 attack, Mitt Romney could not manage to hold off on another dishonest attack past around 10 pm. The situation was set up by this statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo:

U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement

September 11, 2012

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. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.

This statement, from the Embassy without support from the White House, was issued before the attacks on the U.S. diplomatic missions in Egypt and Libya began, most likely in the hopes of calming matters down before any serious violence began. After the attacks began, the right wing noise machine began to mischaracterize this with claims such as that Obama was apologizing to those doing the attacking. My bet is that Mitt Romney saw this as supporting his totally fabricated but ongoing attack line that Obama has been apologizing since taking office, and Romney issued this statement:

“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.”

This was an outright lie, and Romney’s subsequent comments buried him further. The media reaction was strongly opposed to Romney, both for the dishonesty of his statement and for commenting while attacks on diplomatic missions were in progress, before all the information was in. There had already been serious doubts about Romney’s ability to handle foreign policy after the repeated fiascoes on his recent international trip. This confirmed that Mitt Romney is not prepared to be Commander-in-Chief.

First Read  was very critical of Romney (emphasis mine):

***  Over the top :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 . Last night after 10:00 pm ET, Romney released a statement on the attacks on the U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya. After saying he was “outraged” by these attacks and the death of an American consulate worker, Romney said, “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.” Yet after learning every piece of new information about those attacks, the Romney statement looks worse and worse — and simply off-key. First, Romney was referring to a statement that the U.S. embassy in Egypt issued condemning the “efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” But that embassy statement, which the White House has distanced itself from, was in reference to an anti-Islam movie and anti-Islam pastor Terry Jones, and it came out BEFORE the embassy attacks began. Then this morning, we learned that the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and others died in one of the attacks.

*** When news-cycle campaigning goes awry: Bottom line: This was news-cycle campaigning by the Romney campaign gone awry. Why didn’t the Romney campaign wait until it had all the facts? On his overseas trip in the summer, Romney was so careful not to criticize Obama while on foreign soil. But how much time do you give an administration to work through a diplomatic and international crisis before trying to score immediate political points? You’d expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land? After the facts have come out, last night’s Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate. And given that the Romney camp has already moved on to other subjects this morning — issuing a press release on debt and not the embassy attacks — it appears the campaign realizes it, too. Right before our publication time, the Romney camp responds to us that it stands by its statement from last night. The controversial embassy statement, the Romney camp argues, had occurred AFTER the unrest in Egypt and Libya had already begun (citing this CBS report) and that the statement had served as the administration’s sole response until about 10:00 pm ET.

It’s not good for a presidential candidate when he is not only exposed for lying, but compared to Sarah Palin. Mark Halperin, who frequently echoes conservative talking points, was similarly harsh on Romney:

Unless the Romney campaign has gamed this crisis out in some manner completely invisible to the Gang of 500, his doubling down on criticism of the President for the statement coming out of Cairo is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign.

If Halperin is calling this “one of the most craven and ill-advised” moves, Romney better prepare for a couple of months in which the media might be more willing than in the past to expose Romney’s lies.

Conservatives tend to generally stay on message, but in this case responses from Republican leaders and foreign policy hands varied. The statement was too off the wall for many Republican Congressional leaders who have to face reelection and for those who wish to have any credibility beyond the right wing echo chamber. Others, such as Rush Limbaugh, for whom credibility is not an issue, joined Romney in spreading these bogus attacks. Just for fun, try to count all the lies in just the first paragraph of GOPUSA’s coverage:

GOP presidential candidate MItt Romney isn’t backing down. Not only is he sticking to his early statement which blasted the Obama administration’s “apology” to muslims in the aftermath of the attack on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, Romney also stood before the media and held a very presidential press conference. The media were in a frenzy trying to explain Obama’s actions, but Romney held firm.

Obama initially spoke publicly about the situation without reference to Romney. Late on Wednesday, after he already had near universal support outside of Wingnut Land, Obama finally responded to questions on Romney’s statements:

In response to Mitt Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of recent violence in Egypt and Libya, President Obama told CBS News on Wednesday that Romney “seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later.”

“There’s a broader lesson to be learned here,” Mr. Obama told “60 Minutes” correspondent Steve Kroft at the White House. “And I — you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that. That, you know, 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 ’em.”

Asked if Romney’s attacks were irresponsible, the president replied, “I’ll let the American people judge that.”