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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

- Check out the CNN Electoral Map and Calculator and game out your own strategy for November.

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. rmatten

    Romney just confirmed what many Americans has suspected – he is an immature, shoot from the hip politician who is not ready for the Commander in Chief position.

    September 12, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  2. Phi Thomas

    RNC is this the best you can do ? Read the message boards and the news, no one likes Mitts Actions, stop ginning up wars we can't afford. This is Sad, this guy really wants this job at any cost

    September 12, 2012 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  3. jack539

    It is a game changer. He will drop down in the polls due to this. Sad commentary that he cannot simply back the president on a national security issue. He would look like he was concerned about the country and not just his election. But, he would have faced the wrath of those in his party who stronly dilslike the president.

    September 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  4. Maxx

    Thanks Mr. chicken-hawk, run away to France with your butler Romney for talking so tough when you are in no personal danger. And thank for politicizing an attack on the U.S. before you even knew what happened. And thanks for uniting the country in defense of this attack. Very presidential of you. It IS a game changer, in Obama's favor!

    September 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  5. ghostriter

    This fool just can't help himself. And this is what conservatives put forth. Wow.

    They are a game changer alright. Another example of Romney not only being wrong as the statement was released BEFORE the violence, but also of Romney doubling down on dumbing down instead of trying to make it right.

    September 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  6. bdhpoet

    Let me ask you a question: You are a Marine about to go into Libya, do you want a President, that is respected by most of the people in Libya, and disliked by Al Queda. Or do you want a President that is stupid enough to use this event as a political stump speech?

    The stump speaker gives Al Queda what they want: Division in the American resolve to defeat them.

    The President acting Presidential continues Obama's effort at rebuilding the USAs image for freedom around the world and the people welcome you as a Marine coming to help you keep order and defeat the remnants of A Queda.

    You are a Marine about to land: Do you want our President as your leader or do you want a political opprtunist.


    I'll take President Obama and be proud to take his orders and serve our country. This old swabby will use the Jarhead slogan: "Semper Fi".

    Clint, you Jarhead wannabe, you're serving an empty chair, Mitt.

    September 12, 2012 02:34 pm at 2:34 pm |
  7. demwit

    If BOOing God isn't a game changer then this can only be progressive distraction.., nice!

    September 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  8. Kr55

    Just makes Romney look desperate. Everyone knows how it feels for someone to mindlessly jump at you or someone else for any little thing they perceive as an error, even though they might be basing it on completely wrong information. Just makes that person look like an idiot.

    September 12, 2012 02:35 pm at 2:35 pm |
  9. Independent Voter

    No. M.R. is clueless. Send him back to one of his mansions in November.

    September 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  10. Ronda in Houston,TX

    This was a moment that Romney should have said nothing until he got the full facts. He just can not help himself. And neither can his campaign advisors. If I was Romney, I would fire them all. Especially since he likes firing people.

    September 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  11. Jules

    It is a game changer only because whenever Romney opens his mouth it is for a crass political attack no matter what is going on in the world. He fires that mouth without even knowing what is going on. Is this the guy you want responsing to an international crisis or is it President Obama? I want President Obama determining the course of foreign policy in this very dangerous world rather than Quick Draw McMitt who would take us into war at the drop of a hat. Mitt Romney acts like he is running for class president instead of President of the United States – he is an amatuer.

    September 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  12. bb

    Oblameo strong on foreign policy ??? im sure thats it. He just had his a$$ handed to him, face it ,hes a wimp, even McCrystal saw this coming, yes go research that, start with the rolling stone

    September 12, 2012 02:36 pm at 2:36 pm |
  13. Robin: Henderson NV

    Myth. is a Twit, plain and simple, this guy sounded like he was drinking the first three letters from his last name, just replace the O with a U, Myth you need to go the Cayman islands and count your $$ and continue to drink RUM, because dude you are not ready for prime time or will ever be prime time, is this the best you can come up with after 8 years of running for Pres?. Just Pathetic

    September 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  14. BlkPwr817

    Romney, sit back and watch the President do his thing. Hopefully you can pick up a few things along the way.

    September 12, 2012 02:37 pm at 2:37 pm |
  15. junior36

    Please remember to shave under your arms. You will want to look good when they are raised over your head after al-Qaeda comes to your town. 🙂

    September 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  16. Stunning Ignorance

    A tragedy occurs on foreign soil and all Mitt Romney thinks to do is to build up his nonexistent foreign policy credentials?

    Sure this is a game changer.

    Mitt Romney just showed the country that he is not on America's side. His first concern is making political points in a time of crisis for the country. A president would put the good of the country before himself.

    Romney is not presidential material.

    September 12, 2012 02:38 pm at 2:38 pm |
  17. A

    Yes, Romney is holding the President accountable. He is not waiting to see what happens, he is a man who will take quick action. where was President Obama when this all started – why did he not step forward?

    September 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  18. a.m

    This is just wrong ....the mans body is not even cold yet and you go on tv and while talking about the situation decide to talk about what "your" administration would Mr.Romney ....NO ONE CARES! How disrespectful are you to try and use this to for political gain in the should be ashamed of yourself!!! Disgraceful!

    September 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  19. Margarita

    I don't understand why people make bade remarks every time somebody disagree with the President. We all should be critical to whoever is in Office, they are at the service of the american people, I don't understand this love afair that the media and a lot of people have to this President.
    On the private sector if somebody doesn't perform well in two years they replace you.

    September 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  20. CP

    Mitt is a twit...I have no respect for this person. Something as serious and sensitive as Libya, Romney was so disrespectful to give his opinion so soon before our President, before the facts and so soon after it happen to disrespect the President on National TV. I don't care if we are in the middle of an election or if the Republicans are fighting to win the elections...I am getting sick of them disrespecting our President. He is "no matter what" our Commander in Chief and deserves respect. He is embarrassing and embarrassing our Country. Romney's facial expression and mannerism were of a man that has no respect for any one and if he had he would have I said, he is a two year old TWIT! If I was in doubt...I am not any more...I will vote for Obama!

    September 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  21. Douglas

    Governor Romney's attack on President Obama's "handling" of Liya & Egypt violence has convinced me to reverse my choice for President.
    It's now President Obama.

    US Army Veteran 1971-1973

    September 12, 2012 02:39 pm at 2:39 pm |
  22. Jane

    It may have been a game changer. And what SHOULD signal Game Over is the disgusting smirk/smile on his face during and as he was leaving the Press Conference. Even the campaign-hardened journalists just sat in stunned silence. Disgraceful...

    September 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  23. Foreign-Policy...vs..Home-Policy....

    "Its the Economy Stupit"....Its time to put .."Home-Policy First"...Right now its America falling appart for lack of
    Leadership...! and as far as the claim form the White House...we are better with foreign affairs...Who cares...not
    the American People...they only care to have

    September 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  24. Regressive

    Romney has chosen that he would rather stand with our enemies than with his own country! He shows NO loyalty to our country. I am absolutely convinced that regardless of how our President would have responded the likes of Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, John McCain and the entire Republican party would criticize. They are more of Amgerica's enemy than those over seas. This party is disgraceful and unAmerican!! No more will I vote for this unAmerican disgusting party!!

    September 12, 2012 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
  25. dj Brown

    yeah, agreed Romney just lost the election

    September 12, 2012 02:41 pm at 2:41 pm |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7