Obama: Romney has ‘tendency to shoot first and aim later’

In an interview with CBS News Wednesday afternoon, President Obama weighed in on his Republican rival's response to the attacks in Egypt and Libya. 

"There's a broader lesson to be learned here," Obama told "60 Minutes" correspondent Steve Kroft. "And I think -- you know, Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've learned is you can't do that. That, you know, it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts. And that you've thought through the ramifications before you make 'em." He said it “appears that Gov. Romney didn’t have his facts right." He added that "most Republicans ... reacted responsibly, waiting to find out the facts."

On Tuesday night, Romney accused the Obama administration of responding to the attacks by sympathizing with the attackers. The statement he referenced, a message against anti-Muslim bigotry from the U.S. embassy in Cairo, came out before protesters breached the embassy walls and before the assault in Benghazi, Libya. Embassy officials stood by that statement in subsequent tweets; the White House said late Tuesday that the statement was not approved by the administration. Romney reaffirmed his position Wednesday, after the White House confirmed that the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other diplomats had been killed. 

Asked if Romney's attacks were irresponsible, the president replied, "I'll let the American people judge that." 

Obama also weighed in on the statement from the Cairo embassy. “In an effort to cool the situation down, it didn’t come from me, it didn’t come form Secretary Clinton, it came from people on the ground who are potentially in danger," he said. "And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they’re in that circumstance, rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office."

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · September 12, 2012