Posted by AzBlueMeanie:
The verdict is in on Romney’s response to the embassy attacks in Libya and Egypt, and it’s not been kind. Former Romney Adviser On Libya: "They Stepped In It" | The New Republic:
The mainstream media promptly proclaimed the response “over the top,” while Republican foreign policy hands griped that it was a “Lehman moment” and exposed Team Romney as “not ready for prime time.” Peggy Noonan, normally a reliable partisan, told Fox News that “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours, say since last night” and that “sometimes when bad things happen… cool words or no words, may be the way to go.” Even Romney’s allies in Congress seemed to implicitly distance themselves from his comments.
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[T]he tone and timing of the criticism were self-defeating in ways large and small. Small because, as the news accounts have pointed out, the U.S. embassy statement came before the start of the protests in Cairo and Libya—however ham-handed, it was an attempt to preemptively defuse them, an impulse no one can begrudge an embassy official under threat of violence, not an after-the-fact apologia. Meanwhile, the Obama administration had actually disavowed the statement before Romney released his own critique.
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All of which raises the question: What was Team Romney thinking? I’m not really sure, but I happened to speak this morning to a senior Romney adviser from a previous campaign who offered his own theory. According to this person, Romney may have been feeling defensive over the hazing he took in Charlotte last week--“my opponent and his running mate are new to foreign policy,” the president tweaked him—and was primed to hit back. “They set him up Thursday night at the convention with the smack down on foreign policy,” says the former adviser. “They called him naïve, Palin-esque. Then he got his back up about it and was waiting for opportunity to show, ‘I’m strong, too.’”
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It was the only plausible explanation the adviser could think of for how “they stepped in it,” in his words. “I always thought it was a one-two punch [by the Obama campaign],” the adviser continued. “Punch one was Thursday night. Punch two would be in the foreign policy debate. To cast Romney as naïf, an empty suit on foreign policy, and tie him to Bush—as a puppet of the bow-tied hawks of the Bush administration. … This intervening event was gravy.”
Epic fail. Stick a fork in him, Romney is done.
UPDATE: BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith has devastating roundup of reactions to Mitt’s press conference today from foreign policy hands representing both parties. (h/t Ed Kilgore at Political Animal blog).