President Obama fired back Sept. 12 at criticism of his foreign policy by GOP challenger Mitt Romney in the wake of attacks on two key U.S. diplomatic outposts in the Middle East that left four U.S. diplomatic corps members, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens, dead.
“There's a broader lesson to be learned here,” Obama told CBS News. “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. 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.”
After the Sept. 11 violent storming of the U.S. embassy in Cairo, Egypt and the consulate in Libya left four U.S. diplomats dead, Romney canceled a campaign appearance and instead met with reporters to assail Obama’s foreign policy in the Middle East.
“The first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation, and apology for American values is never the right course,” Romney said at a news conference in Jacksonville, Fla.
Romney’s comments came the morning after he released a statement criticizing a release by the U.S. embassy in Egypt condemning an anti-Islam video that had sparked protests there and in Libya. The U.S. embassy’s statement was released before the attacks had taken place.
Meanwhile, Romney’s comments have drawn criticism not only from Democratic leaders, but from Republican officials as well. Peggy Noonan, former speech writer for President Ronald Reagan, told Fox News Romney exploited the attacks for political gain.
“I don't feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours,” she said. “When you step forward in the midst of a political environment and start giving statements on something dramatic and violent that has happened, you're always leaving yourself open to accusations that you are trying to exploit things politically.”