At a press conference this morning, Mitt Romney did not back down when asked whether he spoke too soon in criticizing the Obama administration’s initial response to the attack on the U.S. embassy in Egypt.
Earlier today, Romney slammed the administration’s response as “disgraceful,” saying that it appeared to “sympathize” with those who waged the attacks. As Jonathan wrote earlier, the initial statement from the Obama administration — which was released before the embassy attack — seemed to apologize for an anti-Islam movie that Egyptian extremists used as a pretext for the violence. The White House has since distanced itself from the statement, saying it didn’t sign off on it.
According to Romney, the Obama administration statement and subsequent walk-back “reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world.”
“The world remains a dangerous place,” said Romney. “America cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead.”
When asked whether he regretted speaking out so soon, Romney said he did not. “That [response from the administration] was a mistake, and I believe when a mistake is made of that significance, you speak out.”
This was Romney seeking to contrast his leadership style with Obama’s. Conflicting responses and apologies for free expression can be taken as signs of weakness by America’s enemies, and Romney’s message was that he will stand firm in the face of attacks on America and never apologize for the devotion to, or defense of, free speech.