Mitt Romney's attack on President Obama for the "disgraceful" decision to "sympathize" with the murderers -- and his decision to stick with the political attack in a press conference Wednesday -- "is likely to be seen as one of the most craven and ill-advised tactical moves in this entire campaign," Time's Mark Halperin says. The "campaign faces a near consensus in Republican foreign policy circles that, whatever the sentiment, Romney faltered badly," BuzzFeed's Ben Smith writes. "I've been inundated with emails and calls from elected GOP leaders who think Romney's response was a mistake. Not today," MSNBC's Joe Scarborough tweeted. Peggy Noonan said on Fox, "I don't feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors, say in the past few hours, perhaps since last night... Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go." Former George W. Bush pollster Matthew Dowd tweeted, "Romney react feels a lot like ready, fire, aim."
But if you watched Romney's press conference Wednesday in which he doubled down on his statement, the candidate seemed to think he was nailing it. After he finished responding to each question, he smiled, looking very satisfied. ("The statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and i think was a severe miscalculation." Smile. "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." Smile.) Maybe that's because he knew the kids would love it. The kids being the base, as reflected by conservative bloggers loving Romney's response and calling the murder an act of war by the Libyan government. As he has through out much of his campaign, Romney is defying expectations that he would "tack to the center" after winning the GOP primary. On Wednesday, he played to the same crowd that was so outraged over the "Ground Zero mosque."