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. Marry

    Romney is nothing but an opportunistic stiff! He has NEVER "thought through the ramifications" of what he says or does! 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 even more dangerous than GWB. He "demonstrates a lack of clarity” (in 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 on any issue you choose! He is such a simple, arrogant, impatient, corrupt and plainly dumb person – so easy to read and he jumps the gun when he gets angry. He and the red button – it is inconceivable to think what he would do.
    He is plain dangerous because he is so stupid and knows nothing – but he would be very capable to let others bleed for his incompetence! He would without the blink of an eye to turn the Middle East into an inferno (if people do not care for the life’s lost or think then "deficits don't matter", wait for the price of a Romney foreign policy)!

    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!! He can be trusted to handle all dangers with a well thought-out correct answer after he knows and analyzes the facts!!!

    September 14, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  2. Willard is a Tax Evader

    Let's blame Obama for Willard being a tax evader!!!!!!!! Willard is a criminal for not disclosing his off-shore accounts. Let's blame Obama for THAT too!!!!!

    September 14, 2012 11:36 am at 11:36 am |
  3. Bob

    By not being strong on Iran we will be in a military conflict, because Iran doesn't think we will do anything.

    September 14, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  4. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Post "there's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation."
    Yes, and it would be called WORLD WAR III.

    September 14, 2012 11:37 am at 11:37 am |
  5. Andrew

    I saw romney released a statement saying the film was wrong and dispiriting. So basically he is sympathizing with the protesters. Didnt he attack obama for the same thing the other day? There isnt an issue romney has not been on both sides of..... EVER!

    September 14, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  6. phuffman

    Romney's Policies? What are those again?

    September 14, 2012 11:39 am at 11:39 am |
  7. Joan in MS

    Blame it on Obama. Blame it on the media. Mitt/Ryan is the most naive ticket ever. Neither of them have any foreign policy experience. VP Biden had FP credentials a mile long four years ago. These right-wing nutjobs will blame Romney's utter meltdown on anyone but Romney himself. Get back to us in four years when you have a sincere candidate to lead this great country.

    September 14, 2012 11:40 am at 11:40 am |
  8. fullclarity

    This is the worst Romney rubbish yet. He's amateurish, feckless, and dishonest. He's lost my vote for president.

    September 14, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  9. Mack

    "His policies of appeasement and apologizing and promoting weakness"
    Tell that to Osama. At least he had the brass to send the Seals into Pakistan after Osama, which Bush refused to do. Everyone knew Osama was hiding in Pakistan.

    September 14, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  10. Lynda/Minnesota

    One thing is sure ... Mitt Romney is ABSOLUTELY using the death of 4 Americans citizens for political fodder.

    And ... sadly ... this is the NICEST thing I can say about Mitt Romney.

    September 14, 2012 11:41 am at 11:41 am |
  11. Mack

    Sorry Neocons, no more wars for you. We already have 2 that we are still paying for with no help from the elite, like Romney who supports war but doesn't want to fight in them or help pay for them.

    September 14, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  12. AK_steve

    This guy is an advisor? Good God, he is going to get us in WWIII.

    What ignorance.

    September 14, 2012 11:44 am at 11:44 am |
  13. Duck Fallas

    Umm, where was Williamson when the Marine barracks was bombed in Beirut?

    September 14, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  14. Joe Gerken

    This guy is living in a dream world. Romney can't even visit our best friend England without pissing everybody off. He would be a foreign policy disaster.

    September 14, 2012 11:45 am at 11:45 am |
  15. cali girl

    and this guy knows What?

    September 14, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  16. Blame Obama For Everything?

    The Republican talking points are to just blame Obama for everything and every statement that is made by anyone in Obama's administration.

    The stock market has gone up around 60%. Blame Obama.
    Bin Laden is dead. Blame Obama.

    Oh wait................

    September 14, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  17. Patriot Awesome

    If Romney was president he would cut taxes and go to war with Iran. Cutting taxes and going to war with the wrong country has greatly contributed to our current state of affairs. Why can't republicans remember their recent history? Or do math? Romney is on the verge of being the first non president to get us into a war.

    September 14, 2012 11:46 am at 11:46 am |
  18. BlkPwr817

    To much "shoulda, woulda, coulda" coming from the Romney camp these days. It's over for Romney & he knows it...Obama 2012!

    September 14, 2012 11:47 am at 11:47 am |
  19. wwf

    Yeah and Romney walks on water right next to Christ, took part in the last supper, will bring back the buffalo and cures the sick in his spare time. Yep things would be different. We would be in another wars with "Quick Draw McGraw" at the helm.

    September 14, 2012 11:48 am at 11:48 am |
  20. AListens

    STOP THE MADNESS! IF THIS ADVISE OR COMMENT IS COMING FROM A TRUE, Top Foreign Policy Adviser to Mitt Romney's Campaign then that answers many questions the public no longer ask...This Adviser not only double down, but also triple on nonsense guys are scaring me! Please Exercise The Right To Simply Be Quiet If You Have to Lie, Embellish, Make Up or Use an Alternate Universe...The World is Watching and Listening...

    September 14, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  21. vintel7

    Romney is nothing but a smarmy narcissist liar. In addition to being incompetent, the Romney campaign is shameless and just can't seem to grasp foreign policy. The country will be much better off when we re-elect Obama and when Romney and his campaign of empty blowhards is no longer embarrassing the country.

    September 14, 2012 11:49 am at 11:49 am |
  22. The REAL Truth...

    it now appears that the ENTIRE Willard campaign team needs to open mouth remove foot !

    September 14, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  23. joedwsb

    Gawd..another Republican looking to the USA to be the world police and stick our noses into every other country's business. We are not the friggin police force of the universe. No wonder so many countries are anti-america. And now Ryan thinks he's GI Joe...making foreign policy speaches that are almost laughable. Yeah....elect Romney/Ryan....the two biggest liars in politics today...and they have alot of competition for those titles!

    September 14, 2012 11:50 am at 11:50 am |
  24. N

    SOOO... he thinks that Romney coming into power and supporting Israel's war against Iran will stop US embassies from getting attacked in the Mid East? Yes... I can see how that would work.... NOT!!

    September 14, 2012 11:51 am at 11:51 am |
  25. John

    Tony Perkins on CNN today when asked what he would say to the maker of the film that offended the Muslims in the Middle East.....First changed subject away, then only would confirm freedom of speech, and third, when prodded complemented the filmmaker for telling the truth about the "dangers" of Muslims and Mohammed.....Connect the dots, sounds to me like the RNC and Super Pacs had a hand in making this film along with the Obama 2016 film....ever wonder why they won't even criticize it's production in any way?

    September 14, 2012 11:55 am at 11:55 am |
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