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Amateur

September 12, 2012 12:36 pm ET
Four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens, have been killed in an attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya during protests sparked by an anti-Muslim film. President Obama condemned the attack in the strongest terms. Mitt Romney, who called Obama's response "disgraceful," is taking heat from his own party for his "amateurish" response, especially given his hasty and confused understanding of the facts on the ground.

CORE MESSAGE

What's disgraceful is trying to score cheap political points while American lives are on the line. [Tweet it]

What's disgraceful is trying to interfere with an international crisis to score cheap political points. [Tweet it]


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WHAT HAPPENED


Tuesday, before the violent protests begin
: The U.S. Embassy in Egypt issues a statement condemning an inflammatory anti-Muslim film by a U.S. producer posted to the Internet. The ensuing protests cannot be condemned then because they have not yet happened.

Tuesday: Violent anti-American protests break out and angry mobs descend on the U.S. Consulate in Libya and the U.S. Embassy in Egypt.

Tuesday: After confirmation that one of the diplomatic personnel was killed, Secretary Clinton issues a statement strongly condemning the attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission, making it clear that "there is never any justification for violent acts of this kind."

Tuesday 10:25 PM EST: Mitt Romney's campaign -- breaking its own promise to avoid partisan mudslinging on the 9/11 anniversary and clearly confusing the facts on the ground -- criticizes the Administration's response as "disgraceful" and falsely accuses the U.S. of sympathizing with the protestors.

Wednesday 7:21 AM EST: The White House issues a statement from the President strongly condemning the "outrageous attack," stating that "while the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants."

Wednesday 10:20 AM EST: Mitt Romney doubles down on his statements, making sure to repeat his campaign's false accusations against the President from the night before.

Wednesday 10:43 AM EST: The President vows to "bring to justice the killers who attacked our people."

Wednesday morning: Romney is roundly criticized for his "amateurish" response by Republicans, who are calling it "incompetent"; "just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit"; "utter disaster"; his "Lehman moment"; "not ready for prime time"; "not presidential."


ATTACKS AND RESPONSES


ATTACK: "Muslims are sympathetic to radical Islam."
RESPONSE:

  • Actually, American Muslim leaders are among the most strongly outspoken against violent extremism.
  • Dozens of terrorist attacks have been stopped in the U.S. since 9/11 because American Muslims spoke up when they saw suspicious behavior -- just like any American would. And it was an American Muslim street vendor who raised the alarm and helped stop the Times Square bomber.
  • We should be targeting terrorists based on evidence, not single out an entire group based on their religion. That's more effective at keeping us safe than putting the American Muslim community under surveillance.
  • American Muslims are our neighbors, doctors, firefighters, and teachers -- and they include members of our military who've died defending our freedom. We shouldn't allow politicians to use religion to drive a wedge between us.

ATTACK: "President Obama began his presidency apologizing for America."
RESPONSE:

  • This so-called apology tour never happened. Here's what did happen: President Obama made the call that brought bin Laden to justice, ended the war in Iraq, refocused our intelligence and defense capacity on current threats, and restored America's standing in the world.
  • In fact, the President says he's enormously proud of our country and its role and history in the world -- he knows that Americans are exceptional, not because we say we are, but because we do exceptional things.
  • It's Mitt Romney who should quit saying America is in decline and going on overseas tours where he insults our nation's closest allies.

We develop messaging by aggregating, analyzing and distilling polling, tested messaging, and expert recommendations, and monitoring the media to identify what is and isn't working. 
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Posted in - Foreign Policy - Religion - National Security - 2012 Elections

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