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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Romney’s Blundering ‘Diplomacy’ Amplified — Again

The reviews are already coming in regarding Romney’s ill-considered, shoot-from-the-hip response to the tragic attacks in Egypt and Libya, and it ain’t pretty. For a little taste, read Jack Mirkinson’s HuffPo post, “Mitt Romney Response To Libya, Egypt Attacks Called ‘Irresponsible,’ ‘Craven,’ ‘Ham-Handed,” in which he observes:

The Romney campaign drew fire on Wednesday morning for issuing a blistering statement condemning the American embassy in Egypt for speaking against an incendiary anti-Muslim film, even though the embassy made the statement before any attacks had taken place. NBC’s Chuck Todd, for instance, called the statement “irresponsible” and a “bad mistake.” ABC’s Jake Tapper said that Romney’s attack “does not stand up to simple chronology.”
National Journal’s Ron Fournier called Romney’s actions “ham-handed” and “inaccurate.”
Conservative pundit Erick Ericson, while disagreeing with Todd’s response, also warned Romney to be “cautious.”
Despite that criticism, Romney continued this line of attack in an appearance on Wednesday morning, saying that the White House had made a “severe miscalculation.”
This drew a fierce [tweet] response from analyst Mark Halperin: “Unless Mitt has gamed crisis out in some manner completely invisible to Gang of 500, doubling down=most craven+ill-advised move of ’12”

Even Ice Kween Peggy Noonan weighed in with a chilly scold, noting “I don’t feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours…Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.”
At WaPo, Chirs Cillizza adds at ‘The Fix’: “Romney’s approach hands the Obama team an opening to cast the challenger as not ready for the job, someone who jumps to conclusions before all the facts are known. And, at least at the moment, that appears to be the stronger (political) argument”
Romney’s comments didn’t do much to encourage GOP congressional leaders to defend him, as Politico’s Scott Wong reports in his post, “Hill GOP leaves Romney out on limb on Libya” and Alex Seitz-Wald explains in “GOP leaves Mitt hanging ” at Salon.com.
Slate.com’s Fred Kaplan may have summed up Romney’s blundering “diplomacy” best in commenting:

…Imagine if Romney had called President Obama, asked how he could be of assistance in this time of crisis, offered to appear at his side at a press conference to demonstrate that, when American lives are at risk, politics stop at the water’s edge–and then had his staff put out the word that he’d done these things, which would have made him look noble and might have made Obama look like the petty one if he’d waved away these offers.
But none of this is in Romney. He imagined a chink in Obama’s armor, an opening for a political assault on the president’s strength and leadership, and so he dashed to the barricades without a moment of reflection, a nod to propriety, or a smidgen of good strategy.

If the reception Romney is getting across the political spectrum continues in similar vein, he may soon wish he was back in London during the Olympics, getting dissed by the Prime Minister, the Queen and pretty much every bloke from the East End to Notting Hill.

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