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.

- Follow the Ticker on Twitter: @PoliticalTicker

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

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. Al-NY,NY

    rootin'-tootin' Romney don't play like that!! He puts his foot in his mouth willingly. Slam and blast. Then swerve, evade, and spin. THAT'S the Flip Romney way

    September 12, 2012 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  2. myviewis

    Hopefully Democrats have learned to tell apart a Russian ship from a U.S. ship....."Democrats – sensing an opening against a former Governor with no foreign policy experience – are going after Romney in a big way.

    Perhaps Democrats should get their act together on foreign policy Experience before attacking Romney.

    September 12, 2012 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  3. Pa Voter

    Sit down and be quiet Mr. Coats

    September 12, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  4. France

    Romney has no decency or clue how to handle national crisis. Obama is very classy and knows exactly what to say at the right time. Shame on you Romney!

    September 12, 2012 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  5. the Situation

    Romney and is goons are desperate now. They are trailing in the polls. Even some polls has it that they think Obama is better for the economy then Mitts, something that was his meal ticket and now it's going away. Now Foreign Policy, which nearly 3/5 American believes Obama is doing good, he try to make a statement to look good and made him look like an Twit. The previous administration had the same tough talk and how did their foreign policy looked, well 2 wars, driving up the deficit by the tune of $15 trillion dollars. Yes, that right Neocons because a 4th grader can do the math. Bush and the Repubs wiped out the 5 Trillion Dollar surplus of Clinton and left with a 10 trillion dollars deficit, that equals $15 Trillion.

    Once the debates happen and Obama K.O's Romney again and again, since we seen how Romney isn't that great at the debate and has a tendency to screw up when push, once he gets' push, it's over.

    September 12, 2012 06:26 pm at 6:26 pm |
  6. 1CentFree

    Romney said he's an expert in foreign affairs because he owns homes in many different countries and employs lots of foreigners.

    September 12, 2012 06:29 pm at 6:29 pm |
  7. Annie

    Obama's statement that "justice will be done" was a direct steal of GW Bush's remarks after the 9-11 attacks. Obviously, Mr. Obama is positioning himself politically. The potential future president has every right to also offer his opinion. What is an outrage is that Romney has not yet been given access to daily security and foreign affairs briefings that every presidential nominee is granted. So, what's the hold-up? Perhaps someone should ask the Obama Administration about that...

    September 12, 2012 06:34 pm at 6:34 pm |
  8. Larry L

    Wow... a Republican with a mature and responsible attitude towards foreign policy. Too bad he's not the GOP candidate for President. Oh I forget... those qualities would never get him through the Primary – like Jon Hunstman.

    September 12, 2012 06:49 pm at 6:49 pm |
  9. TAK

    Timing? I'd question Romney's patriotism, judgement and class over this ghoulish and perverted political exploitation of American deaths overseas.

    September 12, 2012 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  10. Kef14

    You know Mitt has done bad in this age of partisan politics if someone in the GOP is questioning him. Mitt is picking a bad time not to do one of his patented flip-flops.

    September 12, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  11. Mk54

    Democrats hope Romney will keep talking, keep putting his foot in his big mouth.

    September 12, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  12. Romney > obama

    Romney was correct then and now. It is tragic, but obama handled it wrong.

    September 12, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  13. CanadaONE

    Canadian Media reaction to Romney


    "Romney's rapid reaction to Libyan situation fails the test"
    | September 12, 2012

    September 12, 2012 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  14. NKB

    Thank God we have a President who doesn't fly off the handle in a serious situation, but calmly and firmly states our position and supports our overseas diplomats..... the last thing we, or the world needs right now is hot headed rhetoric, without knowing the facts as they happened! No one needs another "war" over some radical hot heads who do not represent the majority of the people in that area.

    September 12, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  15. Elle

    What I hate about the politicians today, especially republicans, is how they will say things completely known to be untrue or even against their own beliefs, when it serves a political purpose. Romney is heading the party of NO. Even when Obama makes the correct moves, Romney fabricates something negative to say. Not just on issues of legitimate disagreement, but even when the republicans would agree in principle, they are currently being negative just to try to stick it to him. No wonder there was no hope and change. Boehner pre-planned to fight any accomplishments. and Romney is carrying on the tradition of being disingenuous.

    September 12, 2012 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  16. gwats

    He leaps, then he says.... What? I jumped? What happened to standing united as Americans against the bad guys? Man is a fool!

    September 12, 2012 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  17. Jason

    Really? Romney was right to jump on the administration for apologizing for the film and any feelings it may have hurt. The problems with these people (Islamists) is that they are rabid dogs and don't respect any form of freedom. Everyone on Embassy grounds should have been taken out by either a few cruise missles or a few 2,000 bombs. Embassies are "US Soil". And the murderers should have received swift punnishment and an introduction to "Allah".

    September 12, 2012 07:00 pm at 7:00 pm |
  18. z2cents

    Before Romney does more damage, we should hold elections and officially get him to shut up.

    September 12, 2012 07:03 pm at 7:03 pm |
  19. mikithinks

    Well, Coats has my respect. He has the courage to point out the rush to judgement of Mitt Romney. This is the kind of reason we need to start to govern with an eye to what will be best for America, and not what is best for the election of a political party. Yea Coats.

    September 12, 2012 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  20. sassysticks53

    Mr. Romney your strategy of blasting the POTUS has backfired. You look like a fool. You look like a candidate who is not ready to be the next POTUS. Your European Gaffe Tour also showed us and the world how arrogant you are and that you know nothing about diplomacy. The thought of you at the helm is downright frightening. Your own party doesn't really want you. They are stuck with you. I pray we the people don't get stuck with you.

    September 12, 2012 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  21. Randy, San Francisco

    Kudos to Sen. Dan Coats for taking a bipartisan stance. When Americans are attacked, it is not the time for politics as usual.

    September 12, 2012 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  22. mane

    The republicans have not seen a disaster against the US that they don't admire. Just like the economic obstruction that denies Americans a quick economic recovery for the purpose of defeating the president, a tragedy such as this should unite this country against a common foe rather than divide us.

    September 12, 2012 07:23 pm at 7:23 pm |
  23. batjones

    Thank you Senator Coats, and you are not even running for office. In a few days, I guess we can expect Senator Luger to issue a press release that he is supporting President Obama. I bet Mitch Daniels stays silent until December.

    September 12, 2012 07:26 pm at 7:26 pm |
  24. JHA in Texas

    Why does Mitt Romney take a tragic deaths of a US Ambassador & "un-named" US staff members and twist the facts to achieve political gain? The American pulic is not stupid, they will understand Romney's ill-timed statement / lies, an it will blown-up in Romney's face. Independent voters will not vote for President a candidate who rushes to judgement, before he gets all the facts. It reminds of John McCain canceling his entire 2008 campaign to rush to Washington and do nothing and accomplish nothing. Cool level heads are required when dealing with large domestic & foreign events.

    My condolences to the families of US Libya embassy staff and our prayers are with you.

    September 12, 2012 07:27 pm at 7:27 pm |
  25. Anonymous

    God forbid Mitt Romney would take Sarah Palin word salad advice and try and make it a winning National Defense argument. Congress had better start thinking of reenacting the draft. America is going to need all the soldiers it can get should Romney ever become president.

    At this point, I'm fed up with ALL Republicans. They have become a national disgrace to America. Mitt's all yours, GOP.

    September 12, 2012 07:29 pm at 7:29 pm |
1 2 3