If Romney’s initial statement was robust and exactly the stuff to give the troops, his response to the media onslaught was poor. There was an unfortunate deer-in-the-headlights aspect to his demeanor as reporters pummeled him with questions. Did he think he went off half-cocked? Did he regret criticizing the president as events were unfolding? Romney eventually came out with the correct answer, more or less, but he seemed fixated on the word “breach,” which he repeated four or five times (can’t have those bad guys breaching our embassy walls, you know). Obama set the tone when he said that Romney had a tendency to shoot before he aims.
This was regarded as a “gotcha” comment, but I think Mitt Romney ought to have turned the tables on the president. He ought to have defended his original statement briefly, almost off-handedly. The administration began by apologizing for America. That is always the wrong response, Romney ought to have said. Our ambassador, and three other Americans, were murdered by Islamist thugs because our security was inadequate. That is the issue, and don’t muddy the waters with partisan irrelevancies.