Republican challenger Mitt Romney defended his criticism of President Barack Obama's handling of the of the
attacks on two U.S. diplomatic and doubled down on his campaign's message that
the attacks are evidence that the White House's policies have failed across the
it's a terrible course for America to apologize for our values," Romney said,
referring to the original U.S. Embassy Cairo statement on the protests there,
which was issued before protesters broached the embassy compound walls Tuesday.
"They clearly sent mixed messages to the world. And
the statement that came from the administration -- and the embassy is the
administration ... was a statement which is akin to apology and I think was a
for renewed American leadership in the world, reinforcing his campaign's assertion Tuesday that the embassy attacks
are related to the administration's overall approach to the Arab uprisings.
attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place
and that American leadership is still sorely needed. In the face of this violence,
America cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead," he said. "American
leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of
control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those
who share our values and our interests."
"Over the last several years we stood
witness to an Arab Spring that presents an opportunity for a more peaceful and
prosperous region but also poses the potential for peril if the voices --
forces of extremism and violence are allowed to control the course of events.
We must strive to ensure that the Arab Spring does not become an Arab Winter,"
The Romney campaign's reaction to the events in
Egypt and Libya stood in contrast to several statements by GOP congressional leaders
Wednesday morning, most of whom avoided any direct criticism of the Obama
administration or its policies.
"Yesterday we commemorated the
anniversary of the attacks of September 11, and today we are reminded that
brave Americans serve us every day at the risk of their own lives. We honor the
Americans we lost in Libya, and we will stand united in our response," Senate
Minority Leader Mitch McConnell
(R-KY) said in a statement. "Among the things we can all agree on in Washington
is that attacks on the U.S. and its representatives will be met with resolve,
and that America's presence and defense of our national interests across the
globe will not be deterred by the acts of violent extremists."
McCain (R-AZ), Joe Lieberman
(I-CT), and Lindsey Graham (R-SC),
issued a joint statement that echoed Romney's concerns about the path of the
Arab Spring and urged international support for Libyan democracy, but emphasized
that the details of Tuesday's attacks are still unknown.
"There is still much we do not know about what
happened in Benghazi yesterday. What is clear, however, is that the attackers
must be apprehended and punished. We appreciate that senior Libyan leaders have
condemned these cowardly attacks, and we now look to the Libyan government to
ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice, and that U.S.
diplomats are protected. We have confidence that our own government will
provide all necessary assistance to this end," they said.
One senior Republican senator, Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), joined with Romney
today in tying the tragic events in Libya and Egypt to Obama's policies in the
America has suffered as a result of President Obama's failure to lead and his
failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology. The world must know
beyond doubt that America will not allow these types of attacks on our
people. Obama's failed leadership is in direct contrast with Ambassador
Stevens' brave leadership and effort to protect Americans at the consulate,"
Inhofe said in statement.
called for congressional hearings to investigate the intelligence and security
failures that proceeded the attacks.
Foreign Affairs Committee Chairwoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R-FL)
indirectly criticized the administration's response Tuesday in remarks ahead of
a committee hearing Wednesday morning.
"Let us be
clear: There is no justification for the murder of our diplomats and
attacks of our embassies. We have nothing for which we should apologize,"
she said. We must ensure that the perpetrators of this recent round of
9/11 attacks are held accountable."
separate statements Wednesday morning, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton condemned the attacks,
expressed aguish about the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, and promised to press
for a full and swift investigation.
"We're working with the government of Libya to secure our
diplomats. I've also directed my administration to increase our security at
diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake: We will work with the
Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people," Obama
"Since our founding the United States has been a nation that
respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs
of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless
violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these
brutal acts. Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack
will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya."
Clinton spoke in detail about Stevens's record of working on
behalf of Libyans and praised the Libyan government's response to the crisis so
"When the attack came yesterday, Libyans stood and fought to
defend our post. Some were wounded. Libyans carried Chris's body to the
hospital, and they helped rescue and lead other Americans to safety. And last
night, when I spoke with the president of Libya, he strongly condemned the
violence and pledged every effort to protect our people and pursue those
responsible," she said.
"Today many Americans are asking -- indeed, I asked myself -- how
could this happen? How could this happen in a country we helped liberate in a
city we helped save from destruction? This question reflects just how
complicated and, at times, how confounding the world can be. But we must be
clear-eyed, even in our grief. This was an attack by a small and savage group,
not the people or government of Libya," she said.
"The friendship between our countries, born out of shared
struggle, will not be another casualty of this attack. A free and stable Libya
is still in America's interest and security, and we will not turn our back on
that, nor will we rest until those responsible for these attacks are found and
brought to justice."