ONTD Political

Foreign Policy Experts Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement

1:35 pm - 09/12/2012

“Bungle…utter disaster…not ready for prime time…not presidential…Lehman moment.” And that's just the Republicans.

Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy.

Romney keyed his statement to the American Embassy in Cairo's condemnation of an anti-Muslim video that served as the trigger for the latest in a series of regional riots over obscure perceived slights to the faith. But his statement — initially embargoed to avoid release on September 11, then released yesterday evening anyway — came just before news that the American Ambassador to Libya had been killed and broke with a tradition of unity around national tragedies, and of avoiding hasty statements on foreign policy. It was the second time Romney has been burned by an early statement on a complex crisis: Romney denounced the Obama Administration's handling of a Chinese dissident's escape just as the Administration negotiated behind the scenes for his departure from the country.

"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.

He and other members of both parties cited the Romney campaign's recent dismissals of foreign policy's relevance. One adviser dismissed the subject to BuzzFeed as a "shiny object," while another told Politico that the subject was the "president's turf," drawing a rebuke from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.

"I guess we see now that it is because they’re incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy," said the Republican. "This is just unbelievable — when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it."

Romney has not backed off the response — "It's never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values," he said Wednesday — but his campaign faces a near consensus in Republican foreign policy circles that, whatever the sentiment, Romney faltered badly.

"It’s deeply unfortunate when the circumstance of the statement becomes the story," said Rick Perry's former foreign policy adviser, Victoria Coates, who is now an adjunct fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies, and who suggested that Romney should simply have "gone earlier rather than save it for midnight" to avoid appearing to play politics on September 11. "It’s unfortunate that it’s playing out this way, and hopefully they can get back on message, because their point is sound," she said.

Other conservatives were less sympathetic.

"It's bad," said a former aide to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Just on a factual level that the statement was not a response but preceding, or one could make the case precipitating. And just calling it a 'disgrace' doesn't really cut it. Not ready for prime time."

A third Republican, a former Bush State Department official, told BuzzFeed, "It wasn't presidential of Romney to go political immediately — a tragedy of this magnitude should be something the nation collectively grieves before politics enters the conversation."

But the third official defended the substance of Romney's words: "Romney's attack is spot-on — disgusting that the first Obama administration impulse was to apologize instead of condemning violent religious intolerance. Obama's gotten a real pass on his intervention in Libya, his failed strategy in Afghanistan, and his lack of leadership in the aftermath of the Arab Spring. By trying to cut it down the middle in his foreign policy, no one knows where or for what Obama or America stands in the world these days." lol shut the fuck up

The Republicans declined to speak for attribution, for fear of being publicly disloyal to their party's nominee. Veteran Democratic foreign policy hands, operating under no such restriction, called Romney's quick move all but disqualifying.

"He did jump the gun. It revealed yet again that his foreign policy team is not ready for prime time," said David Rothkopf, a former Clinton State Department official. "It is ugly and amateurish. It also seems strangely out of character with Romney who elsewhere in the campaign seems inclined to be restrained to a fault."

Heather Hurlburt, who heads the National Security Network, a Democratic group, said the statement "shows not just poor judgment and a willingness to use tragedy for political gains, regardless of the security consequences — but also poor management. He has policy people on his team who know better. Clearly they weren't consulted."

"As someone who worked at state and with diplomats for many years, it makes me feel sick," she said.

"Romney blew it and revealed how seriously maladroit he is when it comes to foreign affairs and national security," said Steve Clemons, the founder of the American Strategy Program at the New America Foundation. "An attack on an Embassy, the murder of U.S. officials including an Ambassador, is an attack on all Americans and the idea of America — and Romney gave terrorists what they want — a divided country still torn emotionally and politically by the events of 9-11. Romney talks of leadership but with his reckless commentary when events were fragile and still unfolding, he belly-flopped."


And of course he was smirking as he walked off (as seen in the photo.) Asshole.

ETA: Obama's response in an interview: "There's a broader lesson to be learned here. Gov. Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later."
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wingstar102 12th-Sep-2012 07:52 pm (UTC)
Been up to my eyeballs in personal crap, so I've miss the news the last couple of days. What did Romney say this time?
shadowwolf1321 12th-Sep-2012 07:55 pm (UTC)
He said something along the lines of "Obama is sympathizing with those that waged the attacks in Libya."
shadowwolf1321 12th-Sep-2012 07:53 pm (UTC)
'And of course he was smirking as he walked off (as seen in the photo.) Asshole.'

I assume that he was smirking because he thought this would turn the tides in his favor. In reality all he succeeded in doing was making himself look even more moronic and showing that he is not ready to be a presidential candidate.

its_anya 12th-Sep-2012 07:56 pm (UTC)
'It also seems strangely out of character with Romney who elsewhere in the campaign seems inclined to be restrained to a fault.'

Naaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaht. He offended the people of every country he visited.
shadowwolf1321 12th-Sep-2012 07:58 pm (UTC)
Like our allies in London. Who could ever forget that?
circumambulate 12th-Sep-2012 07:57 pm (UTC)
If by "completely blowing up" the source means not really on any major media outlets, but his original statements and follow-ups are, then sure...
lovedforaday 12th-Sep-2012 08:08 pm (UTC)
i wouldn't be surprised if Mitt the Shit had an erection to go along with that smirk. they really acted all excited about this happening, they were hoping to frame Obama and the administration as weak-willed ~liberals~.
shhh_its_s3cr3t 12th-Sep-2012 08:13 pm (UTC)
Dear Mittens - Thank you for my early Holiday gift from your ass. No Love anyway, Me.
summersdream 12th-Sep-2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Let's be real, if he hasn't personally set foot in a country it doesn't exist in his world. Much the same way poverty, poor people, the middle class, or hunger aren't real for him.

layweed 12th-Sep-2012 08:36 pm (UTC)
Foreign policy credzzzzzzzzzzzzzz guys.
layweed 12th-Sep-2012 08:38 pm (UTC)
Can't wait until the debates, surely one of them will be foreign policy? I will have to remember to stock up on popcorn.
likelolwhat 12th-Sep-2012 08:42 pm (UTC)
Foreign policy hands? I thought it was heads. As in "top in their field"? O_o Maybe I missed something.

Anyway. I would feel sorry for Romney for being such an idiot, but I've no pity for people who are both idiots and full of themselves. Good golly miss molly Mittens.
celtic_thistle 12th-Sep-2012 08:46 pm (UTC)
idk, I copied it right from the source. o.O
palebluedot09 12th-Sep-2012 08:52 pm (UTC)
The funny thing is that not only was he was an asshole but his statement was completely unsound. He attacked the White House for "defending" but what he was attacking was the US embassy's statement which was released before the attack even occurred. Then the attack took place. They embassy announce the names of the lives lost. Then Romney released his statement attacking the White House's "statement". Then he had a press conference attacking the White House. Then the White House had their press conference and finally released their statement.

Timeline here.. http://politicalticker.blogs.cnn.com/2012/09/12/romneys-political-pretzel-over-libya/comment-page-4/

But the really hilarious thing is that in talking points that CNN got he says the same thing he is attacking the White House over!!! (Even though it was the Cairo embassy who said it and not the White House)

Don’t you think it was appropriate for the embassy to condemn the controversial movie in question? Are you standing up for movies like this?

– Governor Romney rejects the reported message of the movie. There is no room for religious hatred or intolerance.


layweed 12th-Sep-2012 09:03 pm (UTC)
He's tripping all over himself. It would be quite entertaining if he weren't running for President, people's lives weren't on the line and people hadn't died from the riots/attack. =\
jasonbeast 12th-Sep-2012 08:53 pm (UTC)
On behalf of everyone who wasn't voting for you anyway ... thanks, Mitt, that might just wrap things up.
flying_pandas 13th-Sep-2012 02:50 pm (UTC)
I get these moments of pure deliciousness when boneheaded mittens shows his true asinine colors, but then I'm brought back to earth and realize people are still going to vote for him and it's still a ways off until Nov. - we all know what a short attention-span the masses have, and the race is still too close for me to feel any sort of definite relief that I'll never have to call him president mittens, so while things like this delight me, they also terrify me.
fightingwords 12th-Sep-2012 09:08 pm (UTC)

Additionally, that headline is hella awkward.
celtic_thistle 12th-Sep-2012 09:20 pm (UTC)
I know. I think I'll tweak it--I copied it from the source, and technically it is correct, but it could be clearer.
dkwrkm 12th-Sep-2012 09:09 pm (UTC)
That desperate for foreign policy cred, eh, Mitt?
moonshaz 12th-Sep-2012 10:02 pm (UTC)
Pretty much.
reginageorge 12th-Sep-2012 09:10 pm (UTC)
has anyone seen the video that pretty much started these protests and attacks?
belleweather 12th-Sep-2012 09:15 pm (UTC)
It's still on YouTube. Have brain bleach ready -- if not for the hella offensive, than for the just plain seriously BAD.
palebluedot09 12th-Sep-2012 09:11 pm (UTC)

Transcript for those who can't watch:

"There's a broader lesson to be learned here: 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 told CBS News on Wednesday."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."

Gawd I'm glad we have a classy president.

Edited at 2012-09-12 09:15 pm (UTC)
likelolwhat 12th-Sep-2012 09:17 pm (UTC)
So am I - too bad the GOP keeps trying to spin him as "angry" - I c what u did thar, GOP. :C
sio 12th-Sep-2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
i want to hammer that smirk right off his ugly face.

fuck you, Romney. FUCK. YOU.
eatmyphotons 12th-Sep-2012 10:00 pm (UTC)
lol at ur icon
angry_chick 12th-Sep-2012 09:33 pm (UTC)
All of this misinformation makes me think of 2008 Redux.
schexyschteve 12th-Sep-2012 11:14 pm (UTC)
But it's better (and more terrifying) because this is the presidential candidate. Not just the VP, but the guy who wants to be in charge for realz.
bnmc2005 12th-Sep-2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
Romney has called Obama an "apologist" over and over and over again. The disgusting thing is that it seems Romney campaign was just waiting for something to happen in the middle east so he could say that Obama is "sympathizing" with Muslim extremists. This was no bumble, IMO. They were chomping at the bit to say something and saw a change. It didn't matter when what or why - they just wanted another excuse to hammer his talking points.
sihaya09 12th-Sep-2012 11:12 pm (UTC)
Yup, it read as a textbook "SEE? HE REALLY IS A SEKRIT MUSLIM!" dogwhistle to me.
winniechili 12th-Sep-2012 09:35 pm (UTC)
There is some legit conspiracy theory stuff going on with this story. I wouldn't be surprised if someone fabricated the movie as a cover for someone to assassinate the ambassador.
vvalkyri 12th-Sep-2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
yeah they're currently not saying anything about it, but at least one article mentioned that not only the embassy but a secure safe house had been targeted. I have a longish post full of links over in my journal.
carmy_w 12th-Sep-2012 09:43 pm (UTC)
Dear Mittens:


A bunch of overreacting religious bigots decide to shoot the place up, and you want to bomb the whole country? PULL YOUR HEAD OUT!

Ok, I feel better now. Sort of.
flcadam 12th-Sep-2012 09:44 pm (UTC)
I am so overjoyed to see Romney crashing and burning.
moonshaz God, I LOVE watching him make an ass of himself!!!12th-Sep-2012 09:57 pm (UTC)
Dear Mittens,

aviv_b 12th-Sep-2012 10:01 pm (UTC)
There is something seriously wrong with this guy. Bush Jr used to be smarmy, but this smirking piece of shit with his total lack of knowledge, finesse and decency is scary. He really does operate with the brain of a reptile.

I revise my former statement of "Romney is so shallow that you wouldn't get your ankles wet if you waded through his soul" to:

"Romney is so shallow that you wouldn't get the bottom of your feet wet if you waded through his soul."

baked_goldfish 12th-Sep-2012 10:05 pm (UTC)
Romney is so shallow that you'd look up directions to go wading through his soul, and your GPS would tell you the place you're looking for doesn't exist.
sankaku_atama 12th-Sep-2012 11:04 pm (UTC)
Romney blew it and revealed how seriously maladroit he is when it comes to foreign affairs

I would have thought this painfully apparent after the European trip Mittens took.
goldengal1193 12th-Sep-2012 11:11 pm (UTC)
Why is Obama still campaigning rn? I really don't want this to hurt him. But WTH?
k0liverbby 13th-Sep-2012 01:47 am (UTC)
tbh people don't know enough about foreign policy to make sense of it all, so i feel the american public could side with either. it won't make or break romney, imo
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