September 12th, 2012
01:40 PM ET
10 years ago

Are Romney's comments on Libya a 2012 game changer?

(CNN) - Mitt Romney's decision to comment on the diplomatic attacks in the Middle East is revealing a split among Republicans who differ over the GOP nominee's remarks on the violence.

"Too quick to politicize over faulty reporting initially. Too quick to politicize (the) death of foreign service officers. Makes him appear not ready," is how one top adviser to John McCain's 2008 campaign put it to CNN.

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But other Republican strategists felt emboldened by Romney's swift and severe condemnation of how the administration's handling of the crisis.

"This could be a game changer," GOP strategist and CNN contributor Alex Castellanos said. "Romney has to go at this and make it clear that he is doing it not for political gain but because weak, apologetic leadership is dangerous for the country."

Castellanos was an adviser to Romney during the 2008 presidential campaign, but does not work for the candidate in 2012.

Late last night, Romney released a statement that was initially embargoed until midnight in keeping with the campaign's decision to avoid political attacks on the president on September 11th. But within minutes the embargo was lifted.

"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," Romney said in the statement.

Romney later explained at a morning news conference he was referring to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that condemned a filmmaker for mocking Islam. However, the embassy's statement came out before the violence erupted. (The embassy confirmed the statement on Twitter after the walls of the embassy were breached.)

In response to questions from reporters about whether he had commented too soon in his initial statement, before the confirmation of the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, Romney called the queries a "hypothetical." He noted the administration backed away from the Embassy's statement.

"They clearly sent mixed messages to the world," Romney said.

Other Republican leaders took a more cautious approach in their statements on the violence.

"Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy," Boehner said in the statement.

Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney
soundoff (168 Responses)
  1. nitro

    The fact that a blowhard like Castellanos supported that stupid response lets me know exactly why he lost to McCain in 2008. Since Willard is not POTUS he should leave that type of stuff to the BIG BOIS.

    September 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  2. cali ha ha

    They are still talking to the man in the chair

    September 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  3. D. Johnson

    A disgusting example of a presidential candidate.

    September 12, 2012 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  4. 100 % ETHIO

    Sir, think out of the box, that you intended to look at.
    Gather intelligent infos', from non-Jewish.

    Jewish has motives to drugged Americans into endless wars.
    Many books has been written by Jewish, their past negative experiences by America. Now, they have been given opportunities to pay back, directly and indirectly.
    At the past, they were abusing Black Slave Descendants, until President Obama elected. Then they yield.

    Jewish are using American Flag as a shield , to ignite flares, around the globe.

    September 12, 2012 01:59 pm at 1:59 pm |
  5. Former Republican, now an Independent

    His idiotic comments further proves to me that my decision to vote for Obama is absolutely the right choice.

    September 12, 2012 02:00 pm at 2:00 pm |
  6. Beeker

    I am sure all Obama supporters would love Romney to "go there".

    The more Romney veers away from the economy and addresses areas that are clearly a weakness for him can only help Obama's reelection aspirations.

    It's early, but Romney's handlers get a "C" grade at best thus far for the way they missed opportunities to really hammer Obama on issues that would stick by running down these rabbit holes...

    September 12, 2012 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Haas

    Someone tell Clint Eastwood that, yes, Romney CAN go do THAT to himself.

    September 12, 2012 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. Rudy NYC

    from the article:

    "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," Romney said in the statement.

    Romney later explained at a morning news conference he was referring to a statement released by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that condemned a filmmaker for mocking Islam.
    "If you believe that, then I still have a bridge I want to sell you."

    September 12, 2012 02:03 pm at 2:03 pm |
  9. Swamy

    Mitt Romney is a nasty, slimy, uncouth, disgusting creature with very few redeeming qualities in him as a human being. Whatmore he was smiling during the Press Conference. Is he a Sociopath?

    September 12, 2012 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Gaithersburg, MD

    Makes total sense to me that Mitt Romney would even try to capitalize on murder Americans for political gain.

    September 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  11. Wake up People!

    It will be a game changer alright. He's going to continue dropping. A draft dodger with 5 sons, and not one in the military is pushing for another war at the same time we are trying to pay off two senseless ones.

    I cannot believe the sheer stupidity of this man. Even McCain thinks he needs to sit down and shut up!

    OBAMA 2012!

    September 12, 2012 02:05 pm at 2:05 pm |
  12. Pete

    Mr Romney, what is disgraceful is your attempt to gain politically from the tragic deaths of four Americans that died in the service of our country. Have you absolutely NO shame whatsoever? You, sir, are not fit to be President of this country, or even represent it in any other fashion.

    September 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  13. Jan

    Romney's response on this tradgedy should certainly be a gamechanger! There is no sin in all Republicans either voting Democratic or NOT VOTING AT ALL!!! His campaign advisors suggest saying it's "never too soon to stand up for America." I SAY QUITE THE CONTRARY IF YOU DON'T HAVE THE FACT, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU WOULD RESPOND IN SOME HALF-COCKED WAY!!! Can you imagine what could have happened in KENNEDY'S 13 DAYS if he had Romney's attitude?!!!!

    September 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  14. Sniffit

    Castellanos has got to be the dumbest one of the bunch...and I say that including the partisan bobblehead hacks on both sides that CNN regularly inflicts upon us. I don't think I've seen him do anything but blatantly and unabashedly vomit substanceless party-line talking points and spin for several years now.

    September 12, 2012 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  15. sonny chapman

    Yes, Alex C. is right. America is itching for more fun & adventure in the Mid-East.

    September 12, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  16. Lyin Ryan should be an Olympian

    Not a game changer, he was already getting his rear kicked. However, you may look at his crass remarks as the final nail in his coffin. Adios Willard.

    September 12, 2012 02:07 pm at 2:07 pm |
  17. cali girl

    Robmey doesn't know anything about Libya or Egypt and our national dealings with those countries.
    I doubt it was a game changer, in fact it very well could be an offensive statement. It was a small group in Egypt and a small group in Libya who claimed responsibility. The governments of both countries offered their condolences and apologies.

    September 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  18. Name Joel

    Who appointed O-mitt Mitt to say anything as a lead spokesman for United States. Inappropriate. If a democrat did this during a Republican presidency, the shouting and screaming would be defeaning. Ultimately though, Romney can't be taken seriously as he will flip- flop his position within twenty four hours.

    September 12, 2012 02:08 pm at 2:08 pm |
  19. Mario

    People...this is a true insight into the mind of Romney – win at no expense to anybody else, it's bloodthirsty, disrespectful and definitely shows where his priorities are...on himself, not the American people. Don't forget this comment...much will be said during the campaigns but these rare gaffs show the real person and their morals...Romney would be enormously bad for America, even Bush would have been better...

    September 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  20. Joi Gibson

    They should be. It shows Willard is not ready for prime time. You might want to get details before you start flapping your jaws – trying to look presidential and failing miserably!


    September 12, 2012 02:09 pm at 2:09 pm |
  21. Joan in MS

    Romney is disgraceful. He is NOT presidential material. Please tell this man to shut up, and send him back to MA, MI, UT or where ever he came from. All Americans are united on foreign policy. His lousy attempts to divide us will not work.

    September 12, 2012 02:12 pm at 2:12 pm |
  22. Tony Z

    Instead of criticizing the administration stand up and denounce the video. This type of behavior of hate is what puts America in a bad position.

    September 12, 2012 02:13 pm at 2:13 pm |

    Mitt is shameless. He has no ideas of his own. He would be a worst Pres. than Bush!
    Crass cowboy days are gone!
    OBAMA 2012 A man who thinks things through!

    September 12, 2012 02:15 pm at 2:15 pm |
  24. Joan

    No it is not a game changer. Poll after poll has consistently shown that the public trusts President Obama far more to handle foreign affairs and this just justifies that opinion. Pres. Obama and Sec. Clinton handled the situation in a capable, thoughtful and timely manner. They didn't rush to judgement and make hasty statements. They condemned the act, spoke highty of the victims, made sincere condolences to their families and called for justice. They knew that this was carried out by a small group of Islamic radicals spurred on by the American-Israeli fim maker who in turn was supported by the crazy Florida pastor. The statement issued by the embassy in Cairo was probably an attempt by them to try and diffuse the growing situation there which is perfectly understandable. For Mitt Romney to immediately issue a scathing statement criticizing the President without even knowing all of the facts is very telling. He has proven that he is not capable of handling the foreign affairs of the greatest country on earth. He is too quick to criticize, make judgements and try to use events for his political advantage rather than look at the larger picture and think things through. That is what a stateman does. Which presidential candidate has the real characteristics of a staesman? There is no comparison.

    September 12, 2012 02:17 pm at 2:17 pm |
  25. ST

    Of all the people, who can follow whatever Alex Castellanos says. I have never heard anything concrete from this man. Am I the only one? I hope not. This man is totally hopeless in giving advises which benefit the entire nation! He is always one sided and bias and not show out he is a serious person.

    September 12, 2012 02:18 pm at 2:18 pm |
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