“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Mr. Romney said in a statement from his campaign. “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.”
Earlier in the day the U.S. embassy in Cairo was attacked and press reports said an American died in another attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya’s second-largest city.
The attacks were believed to be a response to a U.S.-produced film that the attackers believed was blasphemous to Islam.
After the Cairo attack the U.S. embassy issued a statement that seemed to try to place blame not on the attackers but on the makers of the film.
“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,” the embassy said in the statement. “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.”
The attacks and Mr. Romney’s criticism of the Obama administration come at a time when tensions over U.S. involvement in the Middle East are already high.
Mr. Obama is trying to chart a path that continues diplomatic efforts to stop Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon, even as Israel’s prime minister is pushing for the U.S. to draw a “red line” it will not allow Iran’s program to cross.
That has sparked tension between Mr. Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.