The Romney campaign has been oddly mute on the questions surrounding the Benghazi attacks, giving the political media yet another excuse to ignore the story altogether. But now that the Obama administration’s narrative on Libya has collapsed and the drumbeat of questions has started getting louder, the Romney campaign seems finally to be picking up the issue. The candidate penned an op-ed on Middle East policy for the Wall Street Journal today, and his campaign is slamming the White House over its conflicting story on Libya:
Ryan Williams, Romney campaign spokesman, said in a statement: “The Obama White House and the Obama campaign can’t seem to get their stories straight on the attack on our consulate in Libya. This morning, they offered conflicting stories on if and when the President thought the attack in Benghazi was a terrorist act.”
“These inconsistencies raise even more questions about the confusion and mixed messages that have marked the White House’s response from the very beginning,” Williams added.
Could this be the issue that reenergizes and refocuses the Romney campaign? A Bloomberg opinion poll out late last week found that Romney has pulled ahead of President Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. As Foreign Policy reports, this has been an issue Obama led consistently on up until the terrorist attack in Benghazi:
The foreign-policy results of the new Bloomberg National Poll haven’t gotten much attention yet, but the survey contains some bad news for the Obama campaign. According to the poll, Mitt Romney has a 48-42 advantage over Barack Obama on the question of which candidate would be tougher on terrorism. Romney, in other words, has encroached on one of Obama’s signature strengths.
What makes this result so surprising is that the president has consistently trounced Romney when it comes to counterterrorism.
Obviously the economy is the overriding concern among voters, but foreign policy issues still register. A new Foreign Policy Initiative poll found that terrorism remains a major concern for Americans, despite the killing of Osama bin Laden:
A majority of Americans (61.2%) do not think that the threat of “additional terrorism on American soil” has decreased since September 11, 2001, with 44.0 percent of respondents saying that threat actually has increased and 17.2 percent saying the threat has stayed constant. The level of concern about future terrorist attacks against America appears to vary along partisan lines. Whereas 55.7 percent of self-identified Republicans and 43.0 percent of self-identified Independents say the threat of foreign terrorism within the United States has increased, only 33.3 percent of self-identified Democrats share that view.
Romney has an opening here, and it looks like he may finally be seizing it.