Romney stands by criticism of White House on Libya, Egypt
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept 12 |
JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept 12 (Reuters) - Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Wednesday stood by his criticism of the Obama administration for its initial response to attacks against U.S. diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt, calling the White House's reaction disgraceful.
Romney has drawn criticism for a statement his campaign issued on Tuesday night attacking the U.S. Embassy in Cairo for releasing a statement that the Republican said was an apology for U.S. values.
The embassy had condemned a film about the Prophet Mohammad that angered protesters in Libya and Egypt who stormed the U.S. missions there. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in Benghazi.�
Romney said his campaign was right to criticize the embassy statement, which he said was evidence of the White House apologizing for American values of free speech.
"We join together in the condemnation of the attacks on American embassies and the loss of American life and join in the sympathy for these people," he said. "But it's also important for me, just as it was for the White house last night, by the way, to say that the statements were inappropriate and in my view a disgraceful statement on the part of our administration to apologize for American values."
Romney said an apology for American values was never the right course and that "the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation," Romney said. "An apology for America's values is never the right course."
Romney held a hastily arranged news conference to comment on the killing of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomatic personnel. He called the attacks disgusting and outrageous "and breaks the heart of all of us."
"America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We will defend also our constitutional rights of speech, assembly and religion," he said.
Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt criticized Romney for making a "political attack" at a time when the country was "confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in Libya."
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