GOP senator questions timing of Romney statement
September 12th, 2012
06:06 PM ET
10 years ago

GOP senator questions timing of Romney statement

Washington (CNN) - Indiana Republican Dan Coats, a senator with experience as U.S. ambassador, questioned the timing of Mitt Romney's statement which slammed the Obama Administration for sympathizing with protests in Egypt instead of condemning them. He also questioned the timing of a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Egypt.

"Making a knee jerk or quick political responses or knee jerk policy response – usually you have to amend that – so before we jump to too many conclusions and throw things out that aren't necessarily the best solution in the way they addressed the problem – let's assess all that," Coats told CNN in an interview Wednesday.

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Coats, who served as ambassador to Germany early in the administration of President George W. Bush, said his experience tells him it's always best to take a step back before making statements – and that goes for Romney as well as the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

In its initial statement Tuesday, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo seemingly condemned an anti-Islamic movie. Later, in a tweet after the embassy had been breached, it repeated that condemnation and additionally condemned the actions of the protesters that had gotten inside the embassy's outer walls. That tweet has since been deleted and the administration has backed away from the original statement.

"The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims," read the original statement.

Romney released a statement Tuesday evening blasting the administration. Romney on Wednesday increased his criticism of the Obama administration in a press conference.

Democrats – sensing an opening against a former Governor with no foreign policy experience – are going after Romney in a big way.

"To make those kind of statements before you even know the facts, before families have even been notified, before things have played out, is really, not just inexperience, it's irresponsible, it's callous, it's reckless. And I think he ought to apologize, and I don't think he knows what he's talking about, frankly. It's that simple," said Senate Foreign Relations Chairman John Kerry.

Coats responded that even though the election is only 55 days away, both sides should strive to take the politics out of the tragedy – including Romney.

"I think we need to keep the political focus on the election separate from the possible implications of what goes to security and how to protect our citizens," said Coats.

Coats, a member of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said it's too early to know exactly who is responsible for the attacks, but also said he believed it was related to the 9/11 anniversary.

"Violent action against the united states on 9/11 – too much of a coincidence to say it's a coincidence," said Coats.

Also see:

- With attacks in Middle East, campaign turns to foreign policy

- Romney's political pretzel over Libya

- Democrats outraged with Romney foreign policy attacks

- Ryan ramps up foreign policy attack on Obama

Filed under: 2012 • Dan Coats • Libya • Mitt Romney
soundoff (73 Responses)
  1. Jeetu

    I want to clear as well that neither Ryan nor Romney have any idea of dealing with international affairs. Their statements show their ignorance and lack of understanding of various people and their value systems. In the world, we have to deal with people respecting their value systems while defending ours. At times when the actions of few savages have resulted in loss of our lives, we should rise above politics and support our fellow countrymen and our President to deal with the situation. Rather, Ryan and Romney have chosen to criticize the actions, send wrong messages to the world and we do not care about them. This will result in more violence as is already happening in Tunisia and other places.

    Also, by their remarks, Romney and Ryan have shown that they are not fit to hold the POTUS position and hence cannot be elected in that position. Let us vote for Obama for the WH in November elections and all other democrats to keep us civilized and thoughtful or all and clear about our values. There is no other way at this time.

    September 12, 2012 09:02 pm at 9:02 pm |
  2. Pat

    This clown wants to take politics out of something that is 100% political. Our president apologized like the action of murder was justified. Crazy.

    September 12, 2012 09:04 pm at 9:04 pm |
  3. Liz the First

    Why is it wrong for a reasonable person to see the pain caused a group of people by a purposeful slight against their religion? oh, right, the operative word here is 'reasonable.' rethugs are not familiar with that concept. i'm not condoning the violence that led to this tragedy, and neither is the president, but it's not wrong to say he understands their outrage. the person who created this inflammatory video should be held accountable for the consequences. i wonder if he even cares that people died because of his hateful actions.

    September 12, 2012 09:09 pm at 9:09 pm |
  4. Lizzie

    Get the story straight, how can Romney criticize the President when he hasn't even spoken yet, his remarks were directed at the ambassador in Egypt. As for President Obama saying he needed all the facts, never stopped him before.

    September 12, 2012 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
  5. Jules

    Romney and Ryan could have stood with America yesterday and today, instead they chose to stand for themselves and their own political interests. It didn't matter one iota to them that Americans died.

    September 12, 2012 09:26 pm at 9:26 pm |
  6. Fact

    Romney/Ryan look desperate. There is no rationale for them politicizing the tragedy.

    September 12, 2012 09:28 pm at 9:28 pm |
  7. albert J. Wilson

    It appears that Mitt Romneys trip to Israel equiped him with some sorely needed experience in diplomacy. WE can all attest to his shoring up during the London Ollympics and his quips to Prime Minister Cameron. Mitt Romney is every bit of a contrived pre packaged steel cut oatmeal. Julian Castro, Keynote Speaker, said it all at the DSC Convention, "He just doesn,t get it" and he never will as far as the American voter is concerned.

    September 12, 2012 09:46 pm at 9:46 pm |
  8. Obama2012

    Romney is just plain INEXPERIENCED!! Obama is doing the right thing.

    September 12, 2012 09:50 pm at 9:50 pm |
  9. Fact

    I almost think George W. Bush would have handled the response better than Romney/Ryan. Republicans should be worried about choosing Romney.

    September 12, 2012 10:03 pm at 10:03 pm |
  10. Chris

    First of all obama has supported the brotherhood in eygpt and libya the same people who want to destroy america. Our president apolizes to them for murdering our american citizens. U dems are dumbass time obamas done with us we will be the poorest nation and weak. And when u bring facts up they change the subject. But what do u except from people who want handouts and the govt taking care of u lazy people who want get off there butts and work. U no china did the samething and now there govt has complete control.dems should change to the new communist party. Muslim countries have said if ure not one of us will kill u all.if u read history and muslims past ull learn that allah was one of the hundreds of other gods that they worshipped.they can worship anything or anyone but we as americans cant sit by because they will not negatiate with us until were muslims or dead. Theyve made that clear on the news over and over. Im a retired firefighter and i want forget what those cowards did!!!!

    September 12, 2012 10:25 pm at 10:25 pm |
  11. jerina best

    mitt sounds like he has inside information on the killing of united states ambassador.

    September 12, 2012 11:15 pm at 11:15 pm |
  12. Zia

    Before even knowing the facts Romney's criticism is uncalled for and shows his immature behaviour. This reminds of his recent comments on the Olympics
    You don't do politics on tragedies

    September 12, 2012 11:27 pm at 11:27 pm |
  13. Emerson

    A reasoned response. Let's get Senator Coats involved with helping to balance the budget and keep McConnell/Cantor/Ryan and their ideologiaclly driven ilk out of the room.

    September 12, 2012 11:40 pm at 11:40 pm |
  14. John Oboho

    I wonder why Romney could not tap from his wealth of foreign affairs experience.

    September 13, 2012 12:20 am at 12:20 am |
  15. Reno

    There's something a little sad when Republicans say intelligent things, because they usually have to do it contradiction of their leadership.

    September 13, 2012 01:11 am at 1:11 am |
  16. Deb in MT

    Coats can question the timing of Romney's calamitous statement; I question the timing and the content of it.

    September 13, 2012 01:20 am at 1:20 am |
  17. ajla

    Hmm, I see no comments from republicons about this......

    September 13, 2012 02:04 am at 2:04 am |
  18. steven harnack

    Wow! Guess who's going to be drawn and quartered by every right wing pundit, given the cold cold shoulder and dropped from the Christmas card list! I gotta say that I'm just astonished at seeing so much good sense from a Republican. They'll be throwing him out of the club soon.

    September 13, 2012 02:50 am at 2:50 am |
  19. Iamnotfooled

    Romney is an embarassment to this country.

    September 13, 2012 04:13 am at 4:13 am |
  20. don

    One more moderate republican to purge. How dare someone put the country first over party.

    September 13, 2012 06:11 am at 6:11 am |

    Mitt the twit is unqualified to be President. It's clear to any sane American now.

    September 13, 2012 06:57 am at 6:57 am |
  22. Jeckie

    I'm still shaking my head on this one. We are asking the wrong questions and we are pointing fingers in the wrong direction.

    I cannot fathom why a US Embassy would issue such an irresponsible statement. What makes this worse is that if they did in fact issue this before, which it appears that they did – it looks like this statement gave the Muslim group that attacked the Embassy in Egypt, Libya and now Yemen an incentive to do so. Issuing any type of statement – whether its a condemnation or an apology regarding the film is basically giving credibility to its claim. It told the Muslim group that they were right to feel the way that they did – so, they acted on it. We would have been better off just leaving well enough alone and keeping our mouths shut.

    What is more troubling is "who" decided to release that statement? I cannot believe that some rogue Embassy staff member took it upon themselves to issue this. If the Administration knew about this and let it go out – we have a problem because we obviously have no clue on how to handle international matters. If it went out without the Administration's knowledge – the question we should be asking is how could something like this happen? Do we not have any oversight or responsibility over the employees of our government?

    The very "free speech" that the Embassy is condemning with the film-maker is the same "free speech" that they used to get 4 people killed and 3 Embassies attacked. I'm struggling to see the difference here...

    If the American public allows this to become a partisan issue – we will all lose. Someone in our Administration made a horrible mistake that cost 4 lives and could potentially push the US into a confrontation... this is not Romney's fault and if this Administration cannot take responsibility, show some leadership and handle this situation – why on earth would anyone put these people back in office?

    September 13, 2012 07:05 am at 7:05 am |
  23. Wes Jones

    I am a Republican but I will help campaighn in getting this man out of office. You are worse than the left string media. It shows where you stand and that is with the Obama adminastration.

    September 13, 2012 07:15 am at 7:15 am |
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