Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Romney Tends 'To Shoot First And Aim Later', Says President Obama

President Barack Obama responded to Mitt Romney's charge that the White House mishandled its response to the embassy attacks in Egypt and Libya by accusing his challenger of having a tendency to "shoot first and aim later."

"There's a broader lesson to be learned here: 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," Obama said in an interview with CBS News on Wednesday. "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."

When asked if he found Romney's statement "irresponsible," Obama responded, "I'll let the American people judge that."

The Republican presidential nominee has faced significant backlash for targeting the president for a public statement, made by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, that did not come directly from his administration. The statement was made by the embassy prior to an Egyptian demonstration in reaction to an anti-Islamic video. Other officials have accused Romney of prematurely politicizing an episode that took the lives of four diplomatic officials, including U.S. ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens.

Romney released his first statement on Libya and Egypt Tuesday night, in which he called the president's handling of the situation "disgraceful." He reiterated that criticism in a press conference Wednesday, stating, "The president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also from the words of his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his State Department."

"They clearly sent mixed messages to the world," Romney said. "The statement that came from the administration -- and the embassy is the administration -- the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology. And I think was a severe miscalculation."

Obama delivered his own statement on the crisis in Libya on Wednesday, with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton by his side, but chose not to engage with Romney during his speech. He instead focused on the incident and lives lost, while making it clear that those responsible would be brought to justice.

"We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," Obama said, "But there is no justification for this kind of violence. None."


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