Willard Mitt Romney has been running for President since 1994 and is a “unique” character. He is so unique that to my knowledge, there has never been another presidential candidate that has conflicts with himself. In other words, there have been different versions of Mitt Romney since 1994. From 1994 to 2002, Romney was a “Moderate,” in 2008, a “Social Conservative,” and in 2012, an “Economist.” When he ran for U.S. Senate against Ted Kennedy in 1994 and for Massachusetts governor in 2002, he was the moderate, can-do businessman who supported abortion rights and distanced himself from Ronald Reagan. When he ran for president in 2008, Romney stressed social conservatism and his opposition to abortion rights, as well as tough anti-illegal immigration positions. Which Romney is running for President?
Since entering the 2012 presidential campaign, Romney has taken every position possible on a variety of key issues based on the audience he is pandering to. The problem for me is not his consistent flip-flopping but the myriad of reckless, unprincipled and lack of respect for this nation and the Office of President of the United States. Even during the Republican presidential primaries, Romney was noted for his vicious verbal and advertised assaults on his fellow candidates; however, none were as cruel or contrived as has happened since winning the Republican nomination.
In view of the Democrats outstanding Convention and the President’s notable uptick in polls, the Romney campaign has become one of desperation without regard for the well being or security of our nation. On the evening of September 11, 2012, as violence was still unfolding in Libya, Romney issued a statement accusing President Obama of “sympathizing” with those who murdered four Americans including the American Ambassador to Libya. Romney said, “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.”
The “first response” that Romney is alluding to was issued by the American embassy in Cairo, not the Administration. “The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”
After the full scope of the attacks including the deaths of the Americans became clear, Romney then held a press conference on Wednesday morning, September 12th, when he doubled down on the false and outrageous smears against the President and other members of his administration. Here is how the Associated Press assessed Romney’s claims: “The gunfire at the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, had barely ceased when Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney seriously mischaracterized what had happened in a statement accusing President Barack Obama of “disgraceful” handling of violence there and at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. […]. In fact, neither a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo earlier in the day nor a later statement from Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton offered sympathy for attackers. The statement from the Cairo Embassy had condemned anti-Muslim religious incitement before the embassy walls were breached. In her statement, issued minutes before Romney’s, Clinton had offered the administration’s first response to the violence in Libya, explicitly condemning the attack there and confirming the death of a State Department official.” Romney was seen walking away from the podium at his press conference, which was ostensibly about the murder of four Americans, with a smirk on his face. Why the smirk?
The criticism of Romney’s statement was quick and relentless. NBC News political director Chuck Todd called it a “bad mistake.” Former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan said, “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors.” Time’s Mark Halperin called Romney’s actions “the most craven and ill-advised move of 2012.” Newsweek’s Jonathan Alter said politicizing a national tragedy was “not just dumb but a sign of desperation.” Even one of Romney’s top advisers told the New York Times that Romney “had forgotten the first rule in a crisis: don’t start talking before you understand what’s happening.” Despite the contemptuous criticism from all sides, the Romney campaign has continued to launch new attacks on the President even as our embassies continue to be under siege by angry mobs. Rather than follow the example of Ronald Reagan and George H. W. Bush who refused to politicize the Iran hostage crisis during the 1980 presidential campaign, Romney has instead chosen to inject politics into a national disaster.
We all know what happened when Romney was on his international tour. One of the first embarrassing comments that he made was to insult England, our closest ally. When asked by a reporter about the Olympics, Romney said, “There are a few things that were disconcerting. The stories about the private security firm not having enough people, the supposed strike of the immigration and customs officials – that obviously is not something which is encouraging.” What a disgraceful example Romney would set if he were our President.
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