In an interview with ABC News Thursday evening, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney suggested that, after all was said and done, the Obama administration concluded that his criticism of their handling of yesterday’s embassy attacks was valid.
“What I said was exactly the same conclusion the White House reached, which was that the statement was inappropriate. That’s why they backed away from it as well,” Romney told George Stephanopoulos.
On Wednesday Romney denounced the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for criticizing an anti-Islam film that enraged protesters who scaled the embassy’s walls.
The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans were killed when assailants attacked the consulate in Benghazi during a protest against the film.
The statement said that the Cairo Embassy rejects “the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
“Well, I think the statement was an inappropriate statement. I think it was not directly applicable and appropriate for the setting. I think it should have been taken down. And apparently the White House felt the same way,” he said.
According to Reuters, Romney also made a case for a stronger U.S. military at a campaign rally in northern Virginia, an area that could play a deciding role in who wins the November 6 presidential election.
“As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we’re at the mercy of events, instead of shaping events,” he said in Fairfax, a suburb of Washington, D.C.
Romney accused President Obama of instigating some big cuts in the defense budget that will come into effect at year’s end unless the president can negotiate a budget deal with Congress.
“A strong America is essential to shape events. And a strong America, by the way, depends on a strong military. We have to have a military second to none and that’s so strong no one would ever think of testing it,” Romney said.
Advisers to Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president, reports The Washington Post.
“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview. “For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated.”
“In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations — the respect for America has gone down, there’s not a sense of American resolve and we can’t even protect sovereign American property,” he added.
“The president can’t even keep track of who’s our ally or not. This is amateur hour — it’s amateur hour,” said Williamson.
In an interview with “60 Minutes” Tuesday, Obama said the Cairo Embassy statement “came from folks on the ground, who are potentially in danger. And, you know, my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they’re in that circumstance rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office.”
The president went on to accuse Romney of displaying a “tendency to shoot first, aim later.”
Romney wouldn’t take the bait. He didn’t respond directly to the president’s barb during the interview with ABC, he just said: “Well, this is politics. I’m not going to worry about the campaign.”