by Peter Baker, New York Times
The deadly attack on Americans in Libya fueled a harsh escalation of the presidential campaign in the United States on Wednesday as Mitt Romney assailed President Obama’s handling of the situation, while Democrats accused Mr. Romney, the Republican nominee, of politicizing an international crisis.
After expressing sorrow over the deaths of J. Christopher Stevens, the ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans killed in Benghazi, Libya, Mr. Romney told reporters on the campaign trail that the Obama administration tried to appease Islamic extremists who should have been condemned instead. He said a statement issued by the American Embassy in Cairo before the deaths criticizing an anti-Islamic video was “akin to an apology” and a “severe miscalculation.”
“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,” Mr. Romney said, speaking at a campaign stop in Jacksonville, Fla. He added: “They clearly sent mixed messages to the world.” An armed mob attacked the American post, killing Mr. Stevens and other staff members, at the same time, demonstrators stormed the walls of the American Embassy in Cairo.
Moments after Mr. Romney spoke, President Obama condemned “this outrageous and shocking attack” in a statement given from the White House Rose Garden.
“Make no mistake we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people,” he said, as Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton stood by his side. [MORE]