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. srtyyjvx

    romney backers behind this also sen. grasslys statements

    September 12, 2012 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  2. livingston

    The man is talking sense. Now, are you listening Romney?

    September 12, 2012 07:39 pm at 7:39 pm |
  3. Pete

    Spoken as a true intelligent politician,that's something coming from republicans,the hypocrites that love to obstruct...And see even he felt Romney spoke too early without factual data to back his outlandish statements,he'll pay for it now even his republican backers on some shows are condemning his actions especially after four lives were lost in Benghazi.Romney hasn't acted too presidencial lately and people will lose interest if he keeps up these idiotic responses,its a positive for president Obama because he's getting more ammunition on him for the debates,he's flipping more frequently now because he's showing fear but ignorence,arrogence sometimes vails it ,its a trait that republicans have learned to live with for years,its basically their foot in mouth disease!!!

    September 12, 2012 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  4. Craig RB

    Romney is an amateur and I don't think he actually cares about America that much; he just wants to be President to satisfy his inflated ego.

    September 12, 2012 07:50 pm at 7:50 pm |
  5. jim

    In matters of foreign policy, Mr. Romney and his handlers appear tone-dear and feckless. Mr. Romney is starting to make S. Palin look enlightened.

    BTW, I like the bravado that Mrs. Romney showed in her RNC speech when she talked about not having any money when she and Mitt were first together; kind of a "we're just like you" touch. Unfortunately, she had to retract her fiction when a previous interview was brought to light wherein she said that she and Mitt didn't have to work because he had money from his stocks. Oh, well. They almost got away with it.

    September 12, 2012 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  6. Are you kidding me?

    A republican who actually makes some sense. He thinks it is best to think before talking. Why doesnt Willard hire him. At best he would save this our country from further embarrassment.

    September 12, 2012 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  7. Indy

    Romney could not even get it right at the Olympics, why would you expect him to get this tragedy right.Romney is taking an Embasssy statement and blaming on Obama and the victims and only in Romneyhood is that excepted as the rest of the world cringes at Romneys mis informed and misguided political attack during tragedy.Mitt Romney owes the victims family a very big and public apology for his inexcusable statement.

    September 12, 2012 07:57 pm at 7:57 pm |
  8. John the Historian

    I hope all Republicans wake up and see that a new war in the Middle east would not be a good thing. Americans need to mind their own business. Willard is a nut latter day cult follower who think the American Indians and all mormons are descendants of the 13th tribe of israel. DNA proves that to be wrong. Yes to peace.

    September 12, 2012 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  9. gmenfan54

    As if anything Romney says has any credibility.

    September 12, 2012 08:01 pm at 8:01 pm |
  10. Has Mittens "RETROACTIVELY RETIRED" as the GOVERNOR of MA back to before he signed ROMNEYCARE???

    Sounds like Coats is a wise and logical man, Mittens, not so much.

    September 12, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  11. CBR

    Thank you Mr. Coats for being a voice of reason on this subject. Mr. Romney is showing that he is not ready to handle the foreign policy issues. Little tact and no diplomacy would cause untold harm to our people all over the world.

    September 12, 2012 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  12. MDNA = MaDge Not Applicable!

    I think we have seen this "shoot from the hip" type of diplomacy once before from a GOP President and that worked how for both Iraq and "Amercia"?

    The cool, calm, level headed handling of President O is what is needed, not the quick trigger finger of a drafter dodger.

    September 12, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  13. MP in VA

    Well, there goes Rep Coats' career. The GOP will have none of that sort of common-sense nonsense.

    September 12, 2012 08:14 pm at 8:14 pm |
  14. nbgb

    We only have one administration at a time. Romney, by jumping to fast and asserting his version of the wishes of the American people is outrageous and in direct contradiction to our government. This is a treasonous act certainly confusing our image abroad. He has always been considered weak on foreign policy but this shows his true ignorance. God help us should he be elected. People in many countries will be throwing shoes at him.

    September 12, 2012 08:16 pm at 8:16 pm |
  15. stew

    Well I barely can believe one Republican for a brief minute has some actual wisdom in dipolamcy.
    Willard Mitt Romney, when you lose
    I believe with certanity you'll lose,
    pack your bags
    get out of America
    as your a fool we could do without.

    September 12, 2012 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  16. OO

    Romney is dangerously unreliable, and this is evident in all the various positions he has taken in his political career. He is for everythig and against everything, at some opportune point. As someone put it, Romney has an expiration date on everything he says. It may be a good character trait for business to be an apportunist, but it is disgraceful in a politician, especially one vying to become the leader of the free world. The statement from the US embassy in Cairo was not an apology but a condemnation of certain speech. The statement was made apparently to dissuade a mob attempting to enter the US embasy in CAIRO, Egypt. So the atatements was made prior to the mob scalling the walls of the US embassy in Cairo. The murders of US pesonnel happened several hour later in LYBIA. Now both countries are in Africa, but to connect the statement issued by those trying to calm a mob in Egypt to events in Lybia and call a statement an apology when it wasn't is just pandering in its ugliest way. Romney made stupid statements like that during the 2008 campaign. This guy has NO CORE. He is shamefully the worst candidate to win the nomination of either party!

    September 12, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  17. khaleeshi

    Just stop lying Willard. You don't even know what you're talking about. I have never seen anyone running for the office of president of the United States that is basing his entire campaign on a lies. Mitt the Twit and Lyin Ryan are a disgrace to themselves and the nation and are worse than Sarah Palin – an that's saying a lot. No wonder McCain picked Palin over Willard. Your desperation is showing. Why don't you try telling the truth????

    Obama/Biden 2012

    September 12, 2012 08:23 pm at 8:23 pm |
  18. Mark

    A reasonable response. Thank you Senator Coats.

    September 12, 2012 08:33 pm at 8:33 pm |
  19. enuff

    Freedom of speech also means you have consequences what you say. You put out a movie that is offensive, be prepared for the offended to promote their freedom of speech as well. Anger comes into the picture and control will go out. Romney should have taken the time to learn the fracts before he opened his mouth and added to the fracas. Because of his knee-jerk reaction, he may have put more americans in harms way..

    September 12, 2012 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  20. independent

    I guess we can assume that the Tea Party will go after him next year. Appeasing the Democrats during a critical Presidential election, when everything is fair play if it removes Pres. Obama, is unacceptable.

    September 12, 2012 08:37 pm at 8:37 pm |
  21. T'sah From Virginia

    RomneyHood – the wannabe president who will SHOOT first and AIM Later
    He is definitely not ready for the White House or the world’s amphitheater
    I told you Romney was DANGEROUS and we cannot trust him to handle our affairs
    And he picks a Number 2 – Paul Lyan – who LIES and FLIP-FLOPS more than he says his prayers!


    Obama/Biden 2012 – The ONLY Trusted Way Forward!!

    September 12, 2012 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  22. SafeJourney

    Romney messed up again. Him and lyin Ryan just can stop lying

    September 12, 2012 08:48 pm at 8:48 pm |
  23. Jeetu

    The Senator is correct. 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 08:50 pm at 8:50 pm |
  24. zucccchini

    another establishment Republican that does not know the stakes at hand. Regardless of his 'foreign policy' experience he missed the whole point of Romney's response. Obama pretty much had none. Get with it Coats!

    September 12, 2012 08:55 pm at 8:55 pm |
  25. gurgyl

    GOP got to be idiotic to claim this Mitt as their leader and forward him to be USA front runner...sorry.

    September 12, 2012 09:00 pm at 9:00 pm |
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