Romney's gamble: He uses a day of American loss for political points
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Mitt Romney's mishandled response to the killings Tuesday in Libya of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans calls into question his ability and that of his team to perform their foreign policy responsibilities if he were to reach the White House.
The Republican nominee already fumbled the ball during his July visit to the United Kingdom, Israel and Poland when he managed to insult the British, America's faithful friend in war and peace, by questioning their ability to carry out the Olympic Games successfully.
His handling of the Benghazi tragedy was shockingly inept. First, instead of sharing quietly in the grief of those who lost family, friends and colleagues in the firebombing of the U.S. Consulate, Mr. Romney tried to turn a day of American loss into a political opportunity. He accused President Barack Obama of apologizing to America's adversaries and placating foreign extremists. That baseless criticism calls into question not only his judgment but also his sensitivity, sense of decency and even his humanity.
Second, Mr. Romney's botched response raises the question of the quality of advice he is receiving on international affairs. It isn't as if the Republicans don't have considerable talent in that area. One example is Sen. Richard Lugar of Indiana, who has served as ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee for years. Others include former Secretary of State and National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice and President George H.W. Bush's national security adviser, Gen. Brent Scowcroft. Instead, one has to wonder to what degree Mr. Romney is getting his foreign policy advice from people like casino magnate Sheldon G. Adelson, who has big investments already in Macau, China, and is seeking to become involved in Spain.
Beyond Mr. Romney, the Benghazi killings have left some unanswered questions. One is whether the attack was planned or a spontaneous response to the anti-Islamic film "Innocence of Muslims." Another is who is Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the Coptic Christian who, according to federal authorities cited by The Associated Press, was the figure behind the video.
First Published September 14, 2012 12:00 am