FIRST ON CNN: Romney camp tries to manage fallout from Libya response
September 12th, 2012
12:00 PM ET
2 years ago

FIRST ON CNN: Romney camp tries to manage fallout from Libya response

De Pere, Wisconsin (CNN) - Facing criticism for its aggressive and politically-charged response to Tuesday's violent attacks on the American embassies in Egypt and Libya, Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is quietly advising Republicans how to respond to questions about the campaign's handling of the episode.

In talking points currently being pushed to Republican leaders and top surrogates, the Romney campaign recommends attacking President's Obama "foreign policy of weakness" and dismissing questions about how the campaign responded to the crisis last night.

A sample response, as proposed by the Romney campaign officials in Boston:

"Did Governor Romney 'jump the gun' last night in releasing his statement?"

"No. It is never too soon to stand up for American values and interests."

Read the full list of message points from the Romney campaign, provided to CNN by a GOP source, below:

MESSAGE POINTS: Attacks On America's Diplomatic Missions In Libya And Egypt

Surrogate Message Points: Attacks On America’s Diplomatic Missions In Libya And Egypt

Top-Line Message:

– We join all Americans in grieving for the four American patriots who lost their lives in yesterday’s attacks and send our condolences to their loved ones.

- This is a time for America to be firm and resolute – and to make clear beyond any doubt that America will not tolerate attacks on our own.

- The violence against the American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt underscores that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is sorely needed.

– Over the last several years, we have stood witness to an Arab Spring that presents both opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region, but also great peril if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events.

We must strive to ensure that the Arab Spring is not followed by an Arab Winter.

– American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region do not spin out of control.

– We have seen a foreign policy of weakness and decline in American influence and respect. Yesterday, we saw the consequences of this perceived weakness.

– America cannot send mixed signals to either our allies or our enemies.

– We must not be afraid to use our influence to support those who share our values and interests – and to stand firm against those who threaten them. America cannot shrink from its responsibility to lead.

Questions & Answers:

Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.

– But we will not apologize for our constitutional right to freedom of speech.

– Storming U.S. missions and committing acts of violence is never acceptable, no matter the reason. Any response that does not immediately and decisively make that clear conveys weakness.

– If pressed: Governor Romney repudiated this individual in 2010 when he attempted to mobilize a Quran-burning movement. He is firmly against any expression of religious hatred or intolerance.

Reports indicate the embassy in Cairo released its initial statement before the invasion of the embassy commenced. Doesn’t this show they were trying to tamp down the protest and prevent what ultimately happened, not sympathize with the protesters?

– The Administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions.

– Distancing themselves from the statement and saying it wasn't ‘cleared by Washington’ reflects the mixed signals they are sending to the world.

– American leadership needs to be decisive and resolute when our interests are threatened or attacked. For the last four years, this has been lacking.

– We have seen a foreign policy of weakness, indecision, and a decline in American influence and respect – and yesterday we saw the consequences.

– If pressed: The Obama campaign is now attacking Governor Romney for being critical of the same statement the Administration itself disavowed. This is hypocritical.

Did Governor Romney “jump the gun” last night in releasing his statement?

– No. It is never too soon to stand up for American values and interests.

Full Romney Statement:

“Americans woke up this morning with tragic news and felt heavy hearts as they considered that individuals who have served in our diplomatic corps were brutally murdered across the world. This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous, it's disgusting. It breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served, during their lives, the cause of freedom, and justice and honor. We mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the Almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain.

“Four diplomats lost their life, including the U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, in the attack on our embassy at Benghazi, Libya. And, of course, with these words, I extend my condolences to the grieving loved ones, who have left behind, as a result of these who have lost their lives in the service of our nation, and I know that the people across America are grateful for their service and we mourn their sacrifice.

“America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We will defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.

“I also believe the Administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions. It's never too early for the United States Government to condemn attacks on Americans, and to defend our values. The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn't ‘cleared by Washington.’ That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.

“The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed. In the face of this violence, America cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don’t spin out of control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests. Over the last several years, we have stood witness to an Arab Spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and prosperous region, but also poses the potential for peril, if the forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events.

“We must strive to ensure that the Arab Spring does not become an Arab Winter.”


Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (193 Responses)
  1. ART

    These Rethuglicans are just incompetent, even at lying.

    September 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  2. Say_NO_to_four_more_years

    We need a Presidential leader not a professional campaigner.

    Time for a change and elect a strong leader that will put America first.

    Elect Mitt and Paul this November.

    September 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  3. Umberto

    Romney is a disicsble coward . It is revolting for him to politicize this tragedy and try to use it for his political benefit . Just sickening. Romney is detestable .

    September 12, 2012 01:15 pm at 1:15 pm |
  4. Robert

    Desperation runs amok in the Romney camp
    Amateur hour prevails
    Yet another example of how this man should not be president, or open his mouth about things he knows nothing of.

    September 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  5. the Situation

    Proving once again the Romney is the ultimate opportunist. This war monger only wants to go to war, spending what little money to enforce American Values. Where did I here this before? Anyone realizes that 17 out of his 24 Foreign Policy experts were all under the Bush Administration, most notably Dan Senor. The same cowboy out attitude that Bush, Cheney, Rumsefeld and Rice had 8 years ago is what this fool have in them. True disgrace!

    September 12, 2012 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  6. jsmoulder

    Funny how all the libs fain unjust remarks when they do it all of the time.

    September 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  7. Hillcrester

    Romney probably needs to spend a week or two in Libya physically removing rubble and helping to rebuild the enbassy as a way of developing ANY foreign relations credibility. Right now he has none.

    BTW, in today's Gallup polling,

    Obama, approve 51%, disapprove 42%. (+9%)

    Obama 50%, Romney 43%. (+7%)

    September 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  8. Griff.

    "Remember Germany in 1937??? Nazi-ism was running wild!! Well today we have the same obstacles, but slightly different. Now we Biden talking like Adolf Hitler, and Obama selling the USA, to any Muslim-Group who willing to pay his for his Re-Election ! IS CNN ????? THAT GROUP?????

    September 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  9. Bugl3t

    The same typical mouth before brain comments (no truth necessary) we have come to expect from the Greed Over People party and their puppets RMoney and RyAyn. Obama has been more intelligently aggressive against terrorism in the Middle East (and elsewhere) than any other President in recent history...
    Just keep in mind that our economy is still alive and Osama Bin Laden is dead.

    September 12, 2012 01:17 pm at 1:17 pm |
  10. REPUBLICAN ARE THE GREATEST

    Barack Obama must be defeated this November. He is destroying this Country. He makes Carter look like a genius. I wish George Bush was still President we would not have the problems that exist today.

    September 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  11. Lost

    It's too late to recant what's been said and done. This is a fine example of what kind of leadership that a Romney administraton will provide...war, indecisiveness, and mismanagement. This situation is far too delicate for foolish games. Thanks for showing your true colors. Now it's clear to everyone who really should be the Commander In Chief.

    September 12, 2012 01:18 pm at 1:18 pm |
  12. Anonymous

    HZ

    I was wondering how long it would take for hardcore republicans to spin the attack into being President Obama's fault.
    --------–

    One could agrue it's been in the works for months now.

    September 12, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  13. megin

    Romney told the truth.

    September 12, 2012 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  14. ExRepublican

    Romney is a big liar and please stop attacking Obama for doing a great job.
    Romney is disgrace to our country.

    September 12, 2012 01:20 pm at 1:20 pm |
  15. Toll-lific

    What else would you expect from a man who campaigns for the presidency wearing mom-jeans?

    September 12, 2012 01:21 pm at 1:21 pm |
  16. LBLA

    Why does CNN publish an article like this showing an internal memo between a republican cantidate and fellow republicans... AS IF this practice is not also done by Obama and Democrats.

    Thanks for the unbiased reporting again CNN.

    September 12, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  17. Reggie from LA

    Typical. That's the stuff they're made of. Screw it up constantly then fix it by blaming Obama. Then the church says "Amen. Yep, it's Obama's fault alright. Government fellas say it's so, so it must be true.".

    That's how they do their STUPID magic.

    September 12, 2012 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  18. HoustonOilMan

    Mitt should be quarantined, he's suffering from foot in mouth disease.

    September 12, 2012 01:23 pm at 1:23 pm |
  19. q2long

    Once again, it appears Romney can't get his facts straight. The "so-called" apology came BEFORE the attacks and was an effort to defuse the situation. The fact that Romney's campaign is scrambling with a "damage control" memo says it all. We live in a very volatile world that requires careful and thoughtful responses as opposed to chest thumping. There is a pattern here from Romney. Constant gaffs that require follow up remedial efforts. I cringe at the thought of Romney in charge of our relationships with the rest of the world.

    September 12, 2012 01:24 pm at 1:24 pm |
  20. Expat American

    Bush’s failed 'shoot first/think never' cowboy diplomacy was backed by his family name and the GOP establishment in Washington.

    I doubt that, hypothetically, if Romney is elected he will be granted the same party support. Romney really needs to tread lightly when attacking the President over matters where he holds very little knowledge.

    Romney is really on his own on this one. It looks like he's got Sarah Palin in his corner though. That's something at least.

    September 12, 2012 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  21. Rudy NYC

    Maybe we should stop asking Mitt Romney about which tax loopholes he would eliminate, and listening to him wiggle out of giving a straight answer. Instead, let's ask him which ones he would keep, then sit back and watch him wiggle his way out of answering that question, too. He's really quite good at it, you know.

    September 12, 2012 01:26 pm at 1:26 pm |
  22. ART

    Hiraqm Dvis I guess when you are biased it just doesn't matter what the truth is and then you revert to name calling.Just pathetic

    September 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  23. Anonymous

    It becomes very evident that Romney and most of the Repubs have no shame or love of our Country, just an inconceivable hatred of the POTUS and desire to obtain the White House. Even in a time of National emergency and patrons dead, they use it for political gain. If there was a clear cut indication of a persons incapability of leading our country it is Mitt Romney's statements and his use of this tragedy.

    September 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  24. Tom in Indy

    Obamas Chickens coming home to roost!!
    \

    September 12, 2012 01:27 pm at 1:27 pm |
  25. Mack

    Does anyone really want this man to have the authority to launch nuclear weapons?

    September 12, 2012 01:28 pm at 1:28 pm |
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