Mitt Romney began his televised remarks this morning on the attacks in Libya by offering solemn condolences for the deaths of four American diplomats, including the American ambassador, and offering prayers to their families. This was a welcome change of tone from a statement Romney released last night, which blasted President Obama for supposedly sympathizing with the perpetrators of another protest in Egypt also sparked by a crappy anti-Islamic video promoted by Florida pastor Terry Jones. Romney was referring to a statement put out by the American embassy there, which sought to reduce tensions by condemning “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”
According to Buzzfeed, various unnamed Republicans are aghast that Romney went partisan so quickly last night. But Romney — down in the polls, facing Republican exasperation and desperation, and needing something to shake up this campaign — quickly transitioned back to politics in his presser today. The embassy’s statement was an “apology for America’s values” of freedom of speech, Romney claimed, and Obama is responsible “not just for the words that come from his mouth, but for the words that come from his ambassadors’, from his State Department, from his administration, from his embassies.” Ergo, Obama had essentially apologized for the Constitution and sympathized with embassy attackers.
However, Romney’s message became muddled when he was asked by a reporter whether he should have, in retrospect, released last night’s statement as events were still unfolding. “The White House also issued a statement saying it tried to distance itself from [the embassy’s] comments and said they were not reflecting of their views,” Romney rebutted. “I had the exact same reaction.”
So, wait: Does the embassy speak for the White House? Or does the White House speak for the White House? The answer changes as it suits Romney’s needs, apparently.