There have been some signs lately that things are not going so well for Romney. One sign of some foreboding was Paul Ryan suddenly infusing his Congressional race for Wisconsin with lots of cash-as Delong points out, if his presence on the Presidential ticket isn't enough to get him over the top in a House race, what will/
Despite Romney's continued claim that this election is about the economy and nothing but the economy, he's shown some signs lately that he knows this isn't true-his campaign certainly knows it's not enough.
So we saw him accusing the President of wanting to take the Almighty of American coins on Saturday in Virginia. So while his running mate's focus is on taking us back to a gold coin standard, Romney's focus is just that whatever currency we use, it always says "God" on it.
Indeed, Romney's sudden "God" outburst-in the video he literally said the word God 5 times in 30 seconds-is part of a development we've seen signs of over time, where he has gotten into more "cultural" issues: the false welfare ads he keeps playing, the "joke" about his birth certificate, and now this.
Now, he's more than just pathetic and desperate, but truly shameful. On a tragic day for our country, where we lost an Ambassador and other valued, high rankiing embassy officials, Romney is even using this to divide the country.
Predictably, conservatives are hoping this will be something that gives Romney an issue to flag. Jennifer Rubin rather absurdly claims this makes Romney look "Presidential."
To the contrary. Romney didn't look Presidential, but like a desperate Presidential candidate who's losing. Today's Gallup numbers show Obama's convention bounce is still rising. He gained a point in approval and shaved a point in disapproval and now shows an approval rating of 51-42.
In the race, Romney dropped another point, so now the President leads him 50-43. Meanwhile. despite Romney's Chicken Little routine on the economy, Americans are according to Gallup up to their highest satisfaction level in three years.
What Romney and his boosters don't get is that being Presidential means you don't demagogue a tragedy like this in the hope of raising your flagging poll numbers. Romney couldn't possibly look smaller.
He continues to claim that the President "apologized" to the terrorists who attacked in Benghazi last night. In fact, Romney is apologizing for the Muslim baiters who do bear some responsibility for the attacks-the fellow who made that anti-Muslim movie, along with that bigoted Pastor Terry Jones.
The President and Hillary Clinton are right to criticize the slurs against Muslims that precipitated these attacks. This doesn't justify those miserable attacks but nor does it excuse those who continue to needlessly antagonize the Muslim people.
The U.S. Embassy in Cairo had the best answer for all this talk of "apologizing" to terrorists, etc. Note that this concept of apologizing for America is a canard that the GOP has long since tried to hang on the President:
"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."
Hopefully Romney is listening to this statement as it shows it's possible to walk and chew gum at the same time. You can condemn the senseless violence but also the religious bigotry that fostered it.
"After the Cairo embassy's initial statement, as a mob protest outside the embassy heated up, even entering the compound, and commentators in the U.S. suggested the embassy condemn the protesters, the embassy responded through its Twitter feed: "Of course we condemn breaches of our compound, we’re the ones actually living through this."
"The embassy added: "Sorry, but neither breaches of our compound or angry messages will dissuade us from defending freedom of speech AND criticizing bigotry."
It looks so easy!
Some are wondering if this is Romney's McCain moment-when he suspended his campaign after Lehman Brothers.
"Mitt Romney’s harsh and factually inaccurate condemnation of President Obama’s handling of a deadly attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya puts him well in front of the rest of his party."
"Romney’s aggressive attacks on Obama are a reversal from Romney’s usual approach, where he waits for the party to reach a consensus before stepping in. Nowhere was this more clear than during the military operation in Libya that overthrew Muammar Gaddafi’s regime, when Romney avoided taking a decisive stand in any one direction."
:Romney issued a statement late Tuesday condemning Obama’s handling of the attack after news broke that an unnamed foreign service officer had been killed — and even suggested that Obama had expressed support for militants."
“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,” he said.
"In fact, Romney was wrong: A statement from the U.S. Embassy in Egypt (later disavowed by the White House) condemning an anti-Muslim film made in America was issued before the compound was breached."
"As the severity of the attacks became clear — including confirmation that Ambassador Chris Stevens had died in Benghazi, Libya — and Romney’s chronology was called out in the press as demonstrably false, few Republicans stepped forward to follow the Republican nominee’s lead."
"In the House and Senate, top Republican leaders refrained from mentioning Obama, and instead offered messages of sympathy, unity and even praise for the State Department."
“Yesterday we commemorated the anniversary of the attacks of September the 11th, and today we are reminded that brave Americans serve us every day at the risk of their own lives,” Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said in a statement. “We honor the Americans we lost in Libya and we will stand united in our response.”
"Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) announced plans for a moment of silence in the House and ordered flags at half staff."
“We mourn for the families of our countrymen in Benghazi, and condemn this horrific attack,” he said in a statement. “Eleven years after September 11, this is a jolting reminder that freedom remains under siege by forces around the globe who relish violence over free expression, and terror over democracy — and that America and free people everywhere must remain vigilant in defense of our liberties.”
"A joint statement from three of the Senate’s most prominent foreign policy hawks, Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), took a similarly measured response that acknowledged that the full story of what happened on Tuesday had not yet emerged."
“There is still much we do not know about what happened in Benghazi yesterday,” the statement read.
“What is clear, however, is that the attackers must be apprehended and punished. We appreciate that senior Libyan leaders have condemned these cowardly attacks, and we now look to the Libyan government to ensure that the perpetrators are swiftly brought to justice, and that U.S. diplomats are protected. We have confidence that our own government will provide all necessary assistance to this end.”
"McCain said later on Twitter that Clinton’s statement Wednesday morning condemning the attack, was “excellent and moving.” Graham, while critical of Obama’s broader foreign policy on FOX News Wednesday, reiterated that he sided with Clinton’s efforts to transition the government to democracy."
“Under Gaddafi it was the policy of the government to kill Americans,” he said. “This is an outrage and I think Hillary is right.”
No doubt, one of the worst parts of Romney's press conference-perhaps signs of McCain? He cancelled his campaigning today for the press conference-was he went off half-cocked without the full story coming out yet as most Republicans noted as well. He should at least allow a little time for the nation to come together in such a time rather than right away launching his latest desperate attack.
In foreign policy circles, Romney's words have simply mystified:
"Mitt Romney's sharply-worded attack on President Obama over a pair of deadly riots in Muslim countries last night has backfired badly among foreign policy hands of both parties, who cast it as hasty and off-key, released before the facts were clear at what has become a moment of tragedy."
"Romney keyed his statement to the American Embassy in Cairo's condemnation of an anti-Muslim video that served as the trigger for the latest in a series of regional riots over obscure perceived slights to the faith. But his statement — initially embargoed to avoid release on September 11, then released yesterday evening anyway — came just before news that the American Ambassador to Libya had been killed and broke with a tradition of unity around national tragedies, and of avoiding hasty statements on foreign policy. It was the second time Romney has been burned by an early statement on a complex crisis: Romney denounced the Obama Administration's handling of a Chinese dissident's escape just as the Administration negotiated behind the scenes for his departure from the country."
"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it’s just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" — a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader."