Last Tuesday, on the 11th anniversary of 9/11, Islamic militants killed the American ambassador and three staff members in Benghazi, Libya in a violent attack.
Naturally, President Obama addressed the nation with a statement about the attacks and how he plans to deal with them. While I expected Republican Presidential nominee Mitt Romney to also release a statement in regards to the killings, I did not expect him to take the opportunity to fire at the Obama administration. As a supporter of Romney, I am disappointed that he took the murders as an opportunity to ignite a battle.
During the first two minutes of Romney's initial statement, I felt moved by his words. Romney called the attacks outrageous, disgusting and heartbreaking and called for the nation to join in prayer to mourn the loss. However, Romney quickly transitioned to attacking the White House.
"The administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who breached our embassy…instead of condemning the attacks," Romney said at a news conference last week.
It is unfair to say that the Obama administration sympathizes with those who killed four Americans. It is a misguided attack on the President.
Romney's accusations stemmed from a tweet posted by the US Embassy in Cairo hours before they were attacked that condemned those who intentionally tried to offend the religious feelings of Muslims. The tweet was in reference to the growing unrest among Muslims over the controversial video uploaded on YouTube that mocked the Muslim prophet Muhammad. Romney viewed the tweet as an apology from the Obama administration.
It would have been inappropriate for Obama's response to be anything but levelheaded. To me, it was clear that Obama was upset by the attack on the U.S. embassy and would pursue action.
Obama began his response to the attacks by commending the extraordinary Americans who sacrifice their lives for our freedom. He briefed the nation on the events that took place and condemned the actions of the attackers.
I may not always agree with or support Obama's foreign policy and diplomatic efforts, but I applaud the way he addresses the nation in times of tragedy. Unlike Romney, Obama addressed the attack in a delicate and presidential manner.
It was a critical error for the Romney campaign to use his response to the murders in Benghazi for political gain. The Republican nominee could have tremendously benefited from using the opportunity to gain bipartisan support and act presidential by recognizing and commending those killed and demonstrating leadership. Instead, Romney attempted to insult Obama's leadership and falsely accused the White House of apologizing for America and sympathizing with those who breached our embassy.
Unfortunately, by failing to demonstrate presidential qualities in a time of turmoil, Romney fell short of proving himself as a leader.