September 14th, 2012
10:32 AM ET
9 years ago

Romney adviser blames Obama for Libya, Egypt attacks

(CNN) - A top foreign policy adviser to Mitt Romney's campaign stood by his argument Friday that this week's attacks on diplomatic posts in Libya and Egypt could have been averted if Romney were president.

Richard Williamson, a former assistant secretary of state under the Ronald Reagan administration, said Romney's policies would have led to better standing for the United States among countries that saw uprisings in the last couple years.

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"A Romney administration would be there, would be more active trying to work with civil society, with reformer movements, so we would be partners in this evolution, not running behind," Williamson said on CNN's "Starting Point."

He specifically mentioned a lack of government involvement in the Tahrir Square protests of 2011, which ultimately led to the resignation of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak.

Regarding Libya, Williamson argued the U.S. should have been more active in "reconciliation and reconstruction" efforts in Libya after the U.S. joined a multi-state coalition that took military action against Libyan forces.

His comments come after Williamson told the Washington Post "there's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation."

He argued on CNN that Romney would have known security should have been heightened on Sept. 11 at all American consulates and embassies, saying there were "symbolic reasons to be concerned about the safety of our people."

The Republican presidential nominee has come under fire recently while trying to prove his foreign policy chops. He especially drew criticism after blasting the Obama administration, somewhat prematurely, over Tuesday night's attacks.

Defending his stance Friday morning at a fund-raising event in New York City, Romney said "there have been over the years, confusing messages sent by the president of the United States to the world."

Giving a specific example, he painted the president as weak during the 2009 protests in Iran, also known as the "Green Revolution," saying President Barack Obama "had nothing to say that sent a message to the world" and faulting him for not giving direct assistance to the demonstrators.

Half-a-year into his first term in 2009, Obama issued statements and condemned violence against protesters but not did lead or call for U.S. intervention in Iran's post-election unrest.

Williamson argued Obama lacks in leadership worldwide, and the attacks on American missions this week are "part of a pattern where (the attackers) see less resolve and strength of the United States."

The adviser, who also served as a former ambassador to the United Nations, further made the point that the killing of Ambassador Chris Stevens in Libya this week marked the first assassination of an ambassador since Jimmy Carter.

"I do think Governor Romney has a view of the Middle East that is stable and secure–where people's dignity and pluralism and economic opportunity are recognized (and) can be achieved," Williamson said. "But it has to be achieved with United States leadership, and United States leadership from the front, not behind."

- CNN Political Producer Rachel Streitfeld contributed to this report.


Filed under: 2012 • Egypt • Foreign Policy • Libya • Mitt Romney
soundoff (149 Responses)
  1. Jerry Merkin

    Oh yes, Mr. Williamson, Romney in trying to show how he understands foreign policy, has manaed to tick off our most important ally on his trip to London. Moreover, we are now picking up rumors that he is going to allow LA Sands to use its taxable income from foreign ventures to finance a new casion in Spain, so in effect texpayers will be on tge hook for it.

    September 14, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  2. Ronda in Houston,TX

    What a joke for this joker to blame Obama. That's all the Romney campaign does is blame, blame, blame. Ok let's not forget lie, lie, lie and more lies. Romney and anyone associated with him are going down the drain.

    Obama/Biden 2012.

    September 14, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  3. Sniffit

    "Reagan and foreign policy."

    Brass tacks: "Let's give the Taliban weapons!"

    September 14, 2012 11:08 am at 11:08 am |
  4. sj14850

    Mr. Rmoney's advisers also blame Mr. Obama for a host of problems that have affected the United States - Watergate, Challenger disaster, 9/11 and the economic meltdown of 2007. Some have also blamed Obama for the 300% increase in US debt - during the Reagan Presidency. When asked if these accusations weren't misplaced, Mr. Rmoney said that since they all happened under a US President's watch, and since Obama is a President, he could be blamed.

    September 14, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  5. "Oust the House", vote a straight Dem ticket in 2012!

    Myth has not had snorted his Koch yet, so, he has no clue what his "foreign policy" is until his puppet masters inform him!

    September 14, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  6. sj14850

    Mr. Rmoney\'s advisers also blame Mr. Obama for a host of problems that have affected the United States – Watergate, Challenger disaster, 9/11 and the economic meltdown of 2007. Some have also blamed Obama for the 300% increase in US debt – during the Reagan Presidency. When asked if these accusations weren\'t misplaced, Mr. Rmoney said that since they all happened under a US President\'s watch, and since Obama is a President, he could be blamed.

    September 14, 2012 11:09 am at 11:09 am |
  7. DC

    Anybody but Clinton, Obama, Pelosi, Reid. Anybody. John McCain, a Bush, Romney, Wolf Blitzer. Seriously. Anybody.

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  8. Boo

    Nothing like being a Monday morning QB...."Romney would have known." Romney would have known what he knows now....NOTHING!

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  9. John Hix

    It is not over yet for Romney until he gives his concession speech in November. Until then his campaign can do more damage to America with sell outs like this former foreign policy chief from the Reagan years when the world stage was completely different. We still have to get out the vote for our President and stay the course we are on. Vote Obama!

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  10. vivine

    provide us the 10 years tax and i will vote you Mitt, if not shut up

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  11. James Schafer

    Just typical republican ignorance

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  12. VitaOwner

    How? Is Mitt Romney Omnipresent? This comment is just ridiculous and makes no sense. No president can or has stopped every attack, just ask George bush Jr. No president is expected to stop every attack, but they have to respond appropriately when an attack does happen.

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  13. ST

    Wow! they don't care about lives of those who are beneficial to the nation and their lives being terminated at the time when they are needed most, BUT they care much about lives of unborn babies who no one knows whether they will end up in a place no one wants to be (in jails)!

    September 14, 2012 11:10 am at 11:10 am |
  14. Republican Class Warfare

    Clint Eastwood blamed Obama for the war in Afghanistan...demonstrating the derangement of the GOP zombies.

    September 14, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  15. leon

    Please save us from the morons whose first response is to send in troops or interfere in the affairs of another country. Why do white Americans, particularly Repubs always think they know what's best for everyone in the world.

    September 14, 2012 11:11 am at 11:11 am |
  16. Armand Winter

    Romney's friends made the movie that got our ambassadors killed in Libya

    September 14, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  17. Kiki

    If Mitt Romney were president, the United State would be thrusted into another war while he and his five sons remains safe and sound at home. And, the United States would find itself alone and exiled from the rest of world due to Romney damaging our reputation on the world's stage.

    September 14, 2012 11:12 am at 11:12 am |
  18. HOLY TIGHY WHITIES WILLARD

    Yes, it's Dutch/Bad Newz, VA. Go and insult our closest ally on their home turf and acknowledge MI6. Very diplomatic Willard. You're an utter failure at foreign policy.

    September 14, 2012 11:13 am at 11:13 am |
  19. California Gary

    Let's see.......as far as I can tell, Romney's foreign policy will be one of bluster and chest thumping.......much like the Bush administration. How did that work out again? Were we "loved" and "respected" by the other countries of the world, in particular, the Muslim countries? Nobody dared attack the U.S. out of fear of our military might? Yeah Mitt......you're on the right track buddy.........that all worked really well.

    September 14, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  20. thinking outside the box

    Wait, if Romney's policies would have been better than isn't it the Republican's vault for nominating McCain in 2008 and not Romney to then allow Romney the chance to be voted in as President? Someone help me out on this one.

    September 14, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  21. lolo

    Are these republicans for real? They are really out there in lala land. Not Romney hood is projecting that President Obama will lie in the deabates before he dabates him. He is setting things up so it won't look so bad when President Obama runs circles around his behind. Romneyhood should have let go of his momma's dress tail years ago, but I guess once he married Ann her dress tail was just as good as any. What a poor excuse for a man. For someone who went to Harvard and received two degrees , he sure does not act like it. Like I said before his daddy bought those degrees for him.There is no way that he earned them on his own. The GOP made him the nominee so that when he loses they hope to God not to see his face again in the political arena. What a pathetic candidate.

    September 14, 2012 11:14 am at 11:14 am |
  22. Kef14

    Typical stuff when a campaign knows they're behind. They were denying that polls were showing a swing in Obama's favor, but all of their actions are indicating they are panicking. Does this type of thing help them recover ground with rational minded voters? Probably not, it just feeds their already biased base.

    September 14, 2012 11:15 am at 11:15 am |
  23. Larry L

    We're watching the death throes of the Romney campaign. In many ways it's not his fault. You must appear absolutely right-wing crazy to win the primary, yet independents are looking for a mature and reasonable leader, Romney is stuck in a trap. He's certainly willing to flip-flop the issues to appeal to all sides, but independents a smart enough to recognize his ploy. He also can't actually answer any questions because nothing is radical enough for his base and most everything is too radical for independents. You can't please the ignorant and the informed!

    September 14, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  24. rla

    Yea -typical liberal/progressive blather- nothing is our fault because we are perfect and need to lead you to our version of normal- NO THANKS!

    September 14, 2012 11:16 am at 11:16 am |
  25. @GuileOfTheGods

    It rained last night. BLAME OBAMA!

    September 14, 2012 11:17 am at 11:17 am |
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