When a U.S. attempt to free hostages in Tehran failed in 1980, the Gipper called for unity and declined to criticize President Carter.
Foreign-policy crises don't often punctuate presidential campaigns. And when they do, the response from the campaign trail usually isn't to criticize the commander in chief. Mitt Romney's sharp statements on the Obama Administration's response to a fatal attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya are a departure from the approach taken by Republicans in a similar position over 40 years ago -- most notably, that of Ronald Reagan.
Former President Carter's handling of the Iranian hostage crisis helped torpedo his reelection hopes. But when news broke in April 1980 that an attempt to rescue Americans held hostage at the Tehran embassy had failed, the immediate response from the campaign trail was more supportive than critical.
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Former California Governor Ronald Reagan told reporters it wouldn't be appropriate for him to express an opinion at that time. "This is the time for us as a nation and a people to stand united" and to pray, Reagan said, according to United Press International.