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Mitt Romney, seeking to quell concerns about his foreign-policy credentials, continued his attacks on President Barack Obama’s handling of protests in the Middle East by saying the U.S. seems at the “mercy of events” instead of shaping them.
“The world needs American leadership,” the Republican presidential candidate said at a campaign rally today in the battleground state of Virginia. “The Middle East needs American leadership.”
Romney came under bipartisan criticism yesterday for his reaction to Sept. 11 attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
Protests over an anti-Muslim film spread across the Middle East, turning the U.S. political conversation to issues of national security and instability in the region. Hundreds of protesters stormed the U.S. Embassy compound in Yemen’s capital today, chanting “death to America” and “death to Israel.”
Romney told supporters at an outdoor rally today in the Washington suburb of Fairfax that the unrest abroad demonstrates the need for a stronger U.S. posture in both economic and security issues.
“As we watch the world today, sometimes it seems that we are at the mercy of events instead of shaping events,” he said. Romney attacked Obama on foreign policy indirectly today, rather than criticizing him by name as he did yesterday.
His campaign released a new television ad today that charges Obama with “failing American workers” by being unable to stand up to China. Romney aides wouldn’t say in what states the spot is running.
At his rally, Romney reiterated his pledge to declare China a currency manipulator on his first day in office if he wins the presidency.
Romney was on the defensive yesterday for accusing the Obama administration of issuing an apology on Sept. 11 to Egyptian protesters. Romney was referring to a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo intended to calm the situation that was released hours before the attacks occurred there and in Libya. In Benghazi, Libya, the protests culminated in the deaths of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and the three others.
Democrats have argued that Romney is reckless and lacks the foreign policy experience needed for the presidency. Reacting to Romney’s comments on Cairo embassy’s statement, Obama charged him yesterday with having “a tendency to shoot first and aim later,” in an interview with CBS News.
Campaigning in the swing state of Nevada last night, Obama vowed to avenge the deaths of the Americans.
“We will bring their killers to justice,” Obama told cheering supporters in Las Vegas. “No act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America.” He repeated that vow in a speech today in Golden, Colorado.
Romney opened his remarks today by mourning the loss of the four Americans.
‘I want to you know that things are going to get a lot better,” he said.
He also sought to return to his campaign’s main message -- that he has the credentials to fix an economy and that Obama has failed on that front.
He said the U.S. is “on the doorstep” of a fiscal crisis under Obama. “His policies have not worked,” said Romney, a former private equity executive.
“I didn’t just study the economy in school,” he said. “I actually lived in the economy for 25 years.”
To contact the reporter on this story: Lisa Lerer in Fairfax, Virginia at firstname.lastname@example.org
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Jeanne Cummings at email@example.comMitt Romney campaigns at Van Dyck Park on Sept. 13, 2012 in Fairfax, Virginia. Photographer: Win McNamee/Getty Images