Fairfax, Virginia (CNN) - Mitt Romney continued to portray President Obama as weak on foreign policy Thursday, though he did not repeat his harshest, direct criticisms from a day earlier during his first public event since four Americans were slain in Libya.
After expressing sympathy for the families of U.S. citizens killed in the Benghazi attacks, the GOP presidential candidate leveled an attack without mentioning the president's name.
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"As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we're at the mercy of events, instead of shaping events, and a strong America is essential to shape events," Romney told an audience gathered in a Fairfax, Virginia park.
At a press conference Wednesday, Romney accused Obama of sending "mixed messages" on U.S. policy and tied the president to a statement released a day earlier by the U.S. embassy in Egypt, saying it was "inconsistent with the principles of America."
At his Virginia rally, Romney did not repeat that blistering critique, instead transitioning into a broadside on military policy.
"This president has done something I find very hard to understand. Ever since FDR we've had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once. And he's saying, 'no we're going to cut that back to only one conflict,'" Romney said, hitting Obama again on the congressionally-backed military cuts set to kick in this January.
Romney said as president he would "restore our military commitment."
"The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership," he said. "And I intend to be a President that provides the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world."
The former Massachusetts governor was momentarily thrown off message when he tried to hold a moment of silence in honor the Americans killed in Libya. A protester shouted: "Why are you politicizing Libya?" as Romney mentioned the deaths.
"What a tragedy to lose such a wonderful, wonderful ah, wonderful people, that have been so wonderful, and appreciate their service for the country," he said as the crowd began to chant "U-S-A" to drown out the protester. "I would offer a moment of silence but one gentleman doesn't want to be silent so we're going to keep on going."
So you want to shape IRAN the way Bush shaped IRAQ? How's that working for us?
Too late Mitt – you've done the damage and there is no backtracking now. You evidently do not have the gravitas to be Commander in Chief so just bow out gracefully along with your sidekick Ryan and go count your money. President Obama is doing just fine and we do not need a change.
For anyone questioning President Obama's leadership in the world, ask Bin Laden if he is better off now than he was four years ago ... ...
An attack on American Soil that resulted in the dead of US Citizens ... and the President does nothing, his Sec of State, attacks a film, His ambassidor appologises ... Thank goodness we didn't repsond like that after Pearl Harbor
Romney's weakness on foreign policy is not waiting until the events actually unfold and then doubling-down on lies once the facts are revealed. Not presidential material.
LMBAO..........this from a robot (Romney) who has no foreign policy........OK whatever robo-Romney. STUPID!
We must all remember that it could be dangerous to have Romney as president because he shoots off his mouth so inappropriatly that he could start a major war with just a comment .When he tookhis trip this summer he started off insulting the British on the Olympic preparations and then was off and running with the smart mouth ....this man just can't stop sounding off as iif he and only he had an answer for everything.....HE IS DANGEROUS!!!
Mitt is becoming unhinged....
Romney, "the World needs strong American leadership". Mr. Romney has no idea what leadership means because if he did he wouldn't talk about sending our sons and daughters into war while his five(5) sons sit on a throne and watch. Go to you know where Mr. Romney, you'll never be a leader because you are a coward.
My son is about to enlist and for the love of God, country and my son and the families of others, I pray Mitt Romney is not elected as POTUS.
perhaps then you should call the battleship and the Marines that the president sent over to that region that they are going there to do NOTHING. I can't understand people that get their "talking points" from FoxNews then come post them here on CNN.
The world needs strong American leadership.
How true! America has no leader. With Americans being slaughtered in American embassies whrer is Obama? On a campaign fundraiser. He also wanted to limit free speech as to not criticize muslims.
Action speak louder than words, so where does his allegiance lie?
Obama/Biden 2012 for a calm steady hand in a world full of turmoil and a lot of different cultures and beliefs. All different. Some good, some bad. Some of the good ones have bad actors, and some of the bad ones have good guys. But no one is going away. We have to hang together, or we all hang seperately. Romney is a knee-jerk reactionary and a bully.
If Romney walked on water I wouldn't vote for him. He and his fellow cult members are evil.
Would someone please tell Romney, Ryan, and Faux News that Cairo is not "the administration's embassy", but rather it is AMERICA'S EMBASSY?!?
It is disgusting to see such hatred and mean-spirited rhetoric when Americans are in harms way.
CNN is sure worried about us being at war with radical Islamist. All they can report is why is Romney standing up for America. Why not ask why Obama is apologing for America's free speech?
At the mercy of events instead of shaping events? Mittens is a deluded control-freak who thinks our country can and should control everything that goes on in the world?
What an idiot that Mittens is!
Mittens calling for "strong leadership" is laughable, coming from the flip-flopper extraordinaire!
Obama is the dangerous one here. Not Romney, Obama destroys everything he touches, The Economy, healthcare, the American dream.
You twerps can't wait for 4 more years of this? YOU! are UnAmerican supporting this fool!
Remember when Mitt stepped in it too early on the Chinese dissident? The man is now safely in America with his
family? This is what he does, just starts ranting with no regard as to any consequences that might occur
from his overreaction.
He's already told us about his "American leadership in the Middle East" – his name is Netanyahu. Look it up.
It is hard to imagine Robmey having access to the "little red button". He would be way to quick to a gut reaction, then we are all blown to smithereens..
Godless Democrats protesting during a moment of silence.., par for the progressive course.
Romney needs to get real !
@Jon: "An attack on American Soil that resulted in the dead of US Citizens ... and the President does nothing, his Sec of State, attacks a film, His ambassidor appologises ..."
Turn off Fox (and start using a spell-checker) for a change because just what do you know about what's been going on behind the scenes? Calling for cool heads to prevail is smart, unless you're a trigger-happy Repub who wants to send other people's children to fight yet another war.
Show us your tax returns for the last 20 years Willard!!!!!!!!