Mitt Romney has reached his John McCain, the “fundamentals of our economy are strong” moment. Ironically, four years and four days to John McCain’s.
Mitt Romney’s politicization of yesterday’s attacks on an American embassy and an American embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi, and falsification of facts and jumping the gun for the past 18 hours, along with his “series of crude political attacks on President Obama,” are a “discredit” to his campaign, states the Washington Post Editorial Board in a just-published editorial that suggests Romney’s behavior has been inappropriate.
The Washington Post, which many would agree is right-leaning in domestic politics, and far more conservative in its positions overseas, called it “stunning to see the GOP nominee renew his verbal offensive Wednesday morning, when the country was still absorbing the news of the first death in service of a U.S. ambassador since 1988, as well as the loss of three other Americans.”
Mr. Romney’s first rhetorical assault came Tuesday night in response to a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was also besieged by demonstrators Tuesday. His statement claimed that the administration’s first response was “to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” In fact the embassy statement was issued before the protests began; referring to an ugly anti-Islam film that was the focus of demonstrators, it condemned “those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious belief of others.”
At a news conference, Mr. Romney claimed that the administration had delivered “an apology for America’s values.” In fact, it had done no such thing: Religious tolerance, as much as freedom of speech, is a core American value. The movie that provoked the protests, which mocks the prophet Mohammed and portrays Muslims as immoral and violent, is a despicable piece of bigotry; it was striking that Mr. Romney had nothing to say about such hatred directed at a major religious faith.
As for Mr. Romney, he would do well to consider the example of Republican former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, who issued a statement Wednesday lamenting “the tragic loss of life at our consulate,” praising Mr. Stevens as “a wonderful officer and a terrific diplomat” and offering “thoughts and prayers” to “all the loved ones of the fallen.” That was the appropriate response.
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