Advisers to Mitt Romney on Thursday defended his sharp criticism of President Obama and said that the deadly protests sweeping the Middle East would not have happened if the Republican nominee were president.
“There’s a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you’d be in a different situation,” Richard Williamson, a top Romney foreign policy adviser, said in an interview. “For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated.”
Williamson added, “In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations — the respect for America has gone down, there’s not a sense of American resolve and we can’t even protect sovereign American property.”
The aggressive approach by Romney’s campaign thrust the issue of foreign policy to the forefront of the presidential campaign a day after the Republican candidate was widely criticized for blasting Obama while U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya were under attack.
Criticism from Republicans over their nominee’s handling of the situation overseas quieted Thursday, with influential voices in the party’s foreign policy establishment rallying to Romney’s defense. And it was Obama who faced criticism for saying that he did not consider Egypt an ally — a comment that his administration struggled to explain.
“The president can’t even keep track of who’s our ally or not. This is amateur hour — it’s amateur hour,” said Williamson, a former assistant secretary of state and ambassador. He was among those who counseled Romney to respond aggressively on Tuesday night and was offered by the campaign to speak about the candidate’s foreign policy.