The candidate's advisers defend his response to the deaths of American diplomats as Democrats and even surrogates question its wisdom.
Caught up in the middle of a roiling and deadly foreign policy crisis, Mitt Romney's campaign denies it acted rashly in condemning the Obama administration's reaction to fatal assaults against U.S. diplomats in Libya and a violent raid against the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.
Senior Romney advisers, who declined to speak on the record, said on Wednesday the protests at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, where U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens was killed along with three others, demanded a comment from the GOP nominee. The larger point of Romney's statement, which faulted the administration for initially siding with protesters in Cairo, was that Obama is misreading the violent underbelly of the Arab Spring and jeopardizing U.S. interests in the region.
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"This was a story that was building the entire day," a senior Romney official said of the developments that took place late on Tuesday and into Wednesday morning. "With the killing of a U.S. diplomat it is the type of thing where the Republican nominee for president has to have a response. This was a big deal. And the statement was about the consistent failure of this administration to engage constructively with the aftermath of the Arab Spring."