Mitt Romney is once again going after President Obama’s handling of the deadly attack in Libya that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens, this time accusing him of minimizing his death’s importance.
In two separate interviews Monday, Romney took aim at Obama’s remark in a interview on CBS’s “60 Minutes” that aired Sunday that “there are going to be bumps in the road” as the US builds a relationship with new governments emerging from the Arab Spring. The Republican nominee said Obama triviliazed events overseas. “I can’t imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road,” Romney said in an interview with ABC News Monday.
The last time Romney went after Obama’s handling of the unfolding crises in Libya and Egypt, his inaccurate attack backfired as polls showed voters disapproved of his remarks.
This time, Romney is trying to turn the tables on the president. Romney has a history of rebutting criticism from Obama by attacking the president in similar terms. In this case, Romney is arguing that Obama is acting insensitively by dismissing the scale of the problem.
“[Obama’s] indication that developments in the Middle East represent ‘bumps in the road’ is a very different view than I have,” Romney told ABC News. “The president — I can’t imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road, when you look at the entire context: the assassination, the Muslim Brotherhood president being elected in Egypt, 20,000 people killed in Syria, Iran close to becoming a nuclear nation. These are far from being bumps in the road.”
Romney launched into the same attack at the beginning of an interview with NBC on Monday, doubling down on his interpretation of Obama’s comments as a general dismissal of recent events in the region. “When the president was speaking about bumps in the road he was talking about the developments in the Middle East and that includes an assassination, it includes a Muslim Brotherhood individual becoming president of Egypt, it includes Syria being in tumult, it includes Iran being on the cusp of having nuclear capability, it includes Pakistan being in commotion,” Romney said. “Considering those events, either one of them or all of them collectively, as bumps in the road shows a person who has a very different perspective about world affairs and the perspective I have.”
The White House pushed back Monday, accusing Romney of playing politics again. “[T]here is a certain rather desperate attempt to grasp at words and phrases here to find political advantage, and in this case that’s profoundly offensive,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters in his daily briefing.