In an interview, Romney declines opportunity to hit Obama back
September 13th, 2012
08:53 PM ET
8 years ago

In an interview, Romney declines opportunity to hit Obama back

(CNN) - Asked in an interview on Thursday, Mitt Romney declined to continue a terse exchange between himself and President Barack Obama. In the latest volley, the president asserted that his Republican challenger had not "thought through the ramifications" before issuing a statement sharply critical of Obama on Tuesday over the latest unrest in the Arab world.

"Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later, and as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that," Obama said Wednesday in an interview with CBS News. "It's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."

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In his own interview with ABC News a day later, Romney declined to take an opportunity to hit Obama in return.

"No direct response when the president said you 'shoot first and aim later?' " Romney was asked.

"Well, this is politics," the candidate replied in one excerpt released by the news outlet. "I'm not going to worry about the campaign."

Obama was speaking of Romney's sharp criticism over the Obama Administration's response to attacks on U.S. posts in Libya and Egypt, including the killing of several Americans.

"I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi," Romney said in a late Tuesday statement. "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."

The next day, Romney hit Obama for having "demonstrated a lack of clarity as to a foreign policy."

Romney's allegation that administration expressed sympathy appeared to refer to a statement and tweets from the U.S. embassy in Cairo. The statement said the embassy "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions... Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

His Tuesday night statement came as news broke that a consulate employee had been killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, but before it was known that one of four Americans to the American was the ambassador to Libya.

Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt followed Romney's late Tuesday statement with one which read, "We are shocked that, at a time when the United States of America is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya, Governor Romney would choose to launch a political attack."

And Obama went on offense in a Wednesday interview, accusing Romney of "a tendency to shoot first and aim later."

Also in the Thursday interview with ABC News, Romney reacted to the Federal Reserve's Thursday decision to implement a third round of economic stimulus known as quantitative easing, or QE3.

"What Bernanke is doing is saying that what the president is saying is wrong," Romney said of Federal Reserve chief Ben Bernanke in the interview. "The president is saying the economy is making progress, coming back. Bernanke is saying no, it's not."

Romney's statement in the interview was in line with what he has said previously on the subject of another round of quantitative easing.

"I think the Fed's first action - quantitative easing - was effective to a certain degree," he told CNN Chief Political Analyst Gloria Borger in August. "But I don't believe the QE2 - second quantitative easing had the impact they were looking for."

"I am sure the fed is watching and will try to encourage the economy," he said. "But I don't think a massive new QE3 will help this economy."

- CNN's Gregory Wallace, Ashley Killouth, Kevin Liptak, and Kevin Bohn contributed to this report

Filed under: 2012
soundoff (50 Responses)
  1. Keeping it Real

    "It's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."

    Obama referring to Egypt, a US Ally: "I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we do not consider them an enemy,"

    Wow, Obama doesn't even recognize that Egypt has been a major ally of the US? And now the White House is stumbling all over themselves trying to explain the incredible blunder away.

    September 14, 2012 12:11 am at 12:11 am |
  2. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    I see that Romney is going to start getting intelligence briefings. Isn't that about as bright as giving a chimp a hand grenade. But it should end up with the same results: It will blow up in his face.

    September 14, 2012 12:27 am at 12:27 am |
  3. Dee

    It's too late now he has already opened his mouth too soon before getting all the facts.

    You never criticize the Commander-in-Chief during a crisis especially on foreign soil and the killing of Americans.

    This is just another example of disrespect for this President and John McCain knows it he is still bitter from losing the Presidency what a shame.

    September 14, 2012 12:41 am at 12:41 am |
  4. stranger in an increasingly strange land

    Romney is claiming that the Fed's decision to put money into the economy is a plan to help re-elect Obama. Does Mitt not know that Ben the Fed Head is a Republican. A Republican who was first appointed by Bush. And whose policies have always been just as conservative as possible. Or is it just that putting working class people back to work is not good politically for the Republican Party.
    I don't give a crap about Ben's politics if his aim is to actually help America get back on its feet faster. The man is to be comended for putting politics aside and putting the welfare of the American economy and the people who depend upon it on the front burner.

    September 14, 2012 12:51 am at 12:51 am |
  5. John Oboho

    President Obama said Romney hadn't thought through the ramifications of his statements,and has a tendency to shoot first before aiming.And Romney does not have what to say in reply?Obama literally telling Romney to everyone's hearing that he has tendency of making stupid statements and he stays dumb looking subdued?Only shows the President is right.

    September 14, 2012 12:58 am at 12:58 am |
  6. RealPolitics

    Dear Mitt Romney,
    You should drop out of the race with dignity before you open your mouth and get yourself in more trouble. You have disgraced the Republican Party and your comments now have proved that you would make bad decisions before receiving all the facts. Go back NH and enjoy your retired life with your family because America will not be better off but with you as President. Heck under your leadership China could own us in four years!

    September 14, 2012 01:17 am at 1:17 am |
  7. barry

    Romney is the better man. I don't think he will let what happened in Lybia ever happen to us. We were once a proud nation that was respected now we just apologize to everybody. Stop giving the bullies your milk money and stand up to them!

    September 14, 2012 01:31 am at 1:31 am |
  8. david

    mitt is not presidential material... Americans be wise. dont let him get anywhere d close white house

    September 14, 2012 01:45 am at 1:45 am |
  9. JimB

    The GOP machine is trying to take over the message on Foreign Policy in light of the attacks, and Romney's awful response. Hopefully the Dems will stay on the offensive that Romney tried to take political advantage of a tragic situation. Also, that McCain and others have supported the "April Spring" and that democracy is a slow and difficult process. Does anyone really think that this wouldn't have happened under a Romney administration? It could even had been worse. Do they remember what George Bush did to our international reputation? Same people advising Romney.

    September 14, 2012 01:51 am at 1:51 am |
  10. Marry

    Romney has NEVER "thought through the ramifications" of what he says! Because he misstates everything he says (or to put it more bluntly, he lies) nobody takes him serious anymore. The “shoot first and aim later” makes him miss the target too often unless it’s his foot. He "demonstrates a lack of clarity” (and ethics and character) throughout his campaign and it is horrible to think what he would come up with if woken up at 3 am!
    He can’t comprehend even simple things and gets EVERYTHING wrong day and night for any issue you choose!

    It is so important to get out and VOTE a strait blue ticket in November to end this GOP/TP madness!!!
    President Obama/Democrat ticket Nov 2012!!

    September 14, 2012 02:05 am at 2:05 am |
  11. acky55

    I hope Governor Mitt is not shooting first and aim later again. Pls Mitt

    September 14, 2012 02:42 am at 2:42 am |
  12. Doyle Wiley, MI

    One lesson Romney really needs to learn, it is not a sign of weakness to apologize when you a done something for which you should apologize. Apologizing for something for which you should apologize are signs of maturity, understanding, integrity and fairness.

    September 14, 2012 06:37 am at 6:37 am |
  13. amlcpamaine

    Thousands of our precious service people lost lives and limbs because of GOP blustering in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the doubling-down on the lie about WMDs. And Romney, in the face of Americans at peril, doubles down on his lie. The man has no class. The lives of those at risk should be on his conscience but he only has one for offshore cash.

    September 14, 2012 06:40 am at 6:40 am |
  14. Marie MD

    He is NOW not going to worry about the campaign after all he has done in the last 48 hours? Too late.
    BTW – to the bully bishop's campaign crazies and your ads about China jobs lost during the Obama Administration:The US has regained 162,000 manufacturing jobs, among the 1.2 private sector jobs added this year including thirty (30) months of consecutive job growth.
    NOW ABOUT THOSE CHINA JOBS DURING #43 criminal administration:
    In 2000 there were about 17 million manufacturing jobs in the US. In 2010 there were about 11 million That's a net loss of six million American jobs that ended up in China, India, Malaysia, Brazil and other countries. Who lost most of these jobs?
    Master Lock brought back 100 jobs to the US from China in February of 2012 and the US has regained approximately 162,000 during the present administration.

    September 14, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  15. Gurgyl

    Obama needs to be too far in his debate with this animal–he mat hit president. Pathetic idiot.

    September 14, 2012 06:44 am at 6:44 am |
  16. Smarts

    No foot in mouth or no response?

    September 14, 2012 06:55 am at 6:55 am |
  17. GI Joe

    Romney is a secret. His taxes are a secret. But he wants to RAISE TAXES ON US.

    He is disgusting. They will give him intel briefings starting next week. So? bachmann has been on intelligence committee for 4 years and she's still stupid. He can't get enough intelligence in the next 24 days to make me change my mind. He's all for himself and his wealthy buddies.

    24 days til early voting in my state.
    Obama/Biden 2012-2016 for a calm, intelligent, steady hand going forward.

    September 14, 2012 07:16 am at 7:16 am |
  18. GI Joe

    John Huntsman is the ONLY republican I would have voted for.

    Huntsman/Warren 2016. Let's split the ticket next time. They would be best for ALL OF US. republican and dem.

    September 14, 2012 07:18 am at 7:18 am |
  19. kathy/Minnesota

    Why does mittens always decide to be quiet,after he has put his foot so far in his mouth, (he makes) it's impossible to complete that task!!!!!!?? he has worse than a 7second delay.

    September 14, 2012 07:25 am at 7:25 am |
  20. Donkey Party

    Romney is a fool, and a tool. He gives money, Mormons, and robots a bad name.

    September 14, 2012 07:54 am at 7:54 am |
  21. GI Joe

    He's not worrying about the campaign? Does that mean he thinks the voter suppression can get him in the office?

    ha ha ha ha ha haha

    He doesn't know how many of us despise him and his lies.

    September 14, 2012 07:56 am at 7:56 am |
  22. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Well, this is politics," the candidate replied in one excerpt released by the news outlet. "I'm not going to worry about the campaign."
    W H A T??!!
    He said WHAT??!

    September 14, 2012 08:00 am at 8:00 am |
  23. Kiki

    The republican establishment now realize that former governor and ambassador Jon Huntsman would have been a better choice to handle foreign affairs.

    September 14, 2012 08:45 am at 8:45 am |
  24. Anonymous

    Shame, shame on Mitt Romney for trying to politicalize an international event by sticking his nose in where it didn't belong only to garner political points, especially knowing lives had been lost. Shame, shame on Mitt Romney for then sending his surrogates out to lie about what he said, when he said it, and why he said it. Shame, shame on the media for accepting Romney's damage control talking points and running with them. This man is delusional and unable to think clearly in a time of crisis. The American public ought to see what they are getting into first hand without the punditry trying to whitewash the affair to appease Mitt Romney. As president, I doubt international debates from other leaders will allow Mitt Romney to appease Mitt Romney every time he sticks a foot in it, which seems to be every other day.

    It's quite clear that Mitt Romney is unable to handle tense situations in any meaningful manner and he has now proven that he has no idea just how dangerous the situation is in the Middle East. I find that astonishing considering he is running for President. Leading to the question: what does Mitt Romney understand about any given subject that doesn't directly affect Mitt Romney's opinion of Mitt Romney?

    He is not presidential material. Not this year, not ever.

    September 14, 2012 08:55 am at 8:55 am |
  25. g

    if elected romney would be the last american president the .5% want to control the country and people -they believe they own her

    September 14, 2012 09:00 am at 9:00 am |
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