It’s disturbing enough when a candidate for President lies about a significant matter, but even more troublesome when the lie is part of an effort to politicize a tragedy for our country - on September 11, no less.
Rioters in Egypt and Libya attacked embassies of the United States to “protest” an anti-Muslim film that was being promoted by the Koran-burning nitwit Terry Jones. The rioters in Libya killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. An employee in the Cairo Embassy tweeted a condemnation of the film for its anti-Muslim bigotry. According to Talking Points Memo, “the embassy and multiple press reports assert that the statement came before the protests and was intended to head off a confrontation.” The State Department and the White House both disavowed the statement from the embassy employee because it did not also include a defense of freedom of speech by Jones and the film maker.
Here is Republican nominee Mitt Romney’s first comment on the crisis:
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
After an opportunity to reflect, he came up with this:
“We join together in the condemnation of attacks on the American embassies and the loss of American life and join in sympathy for these people. It’s also important for me — just as it was for the White House, last night by the way — to say that the statements were inappropriate, and in my view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for American values ….”
(Both quotes are from Andrew Sullivan’s blog.)
One of Romney’s recurrent themes - uttered most recently in his acceptance speech at the Republican Convention - is that Barack Obama began his Presidency by engaging in an “apology tour.” Romney even named his book No Apologies. The reality, of course, is that Obama did no such thing, but that has not stopped Romney from repeating this lie. Now he has done it to gain political advantage from the murder of four Americans serving their country in one of the world’s most difficult spots. I think the most apt description for such behavior is “despicable.”