Team Romney Doubles Down on Its Terrible Reaction

It appears that Team Romney is hardening its stance on the protests in Egypt and the attack in Libya. In a press conference this morning, Romney repeated the message of his initial press release, saying that “the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our Embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions” and that “it’s never too early for the United States government to condemn acts on Americans and to defend our values.”

Peppered throughout were references to the Obama administration’s “apology” and a second attack on the Cairo Embassy’s statement, which—we now know—was an attempt to prevent violence. Here’s the full press conference, if you’re interested:

The Romney campaign has also released talking points to other Republicans, in an effort to keep everyone on message. Like the press conference, they doubled-down on the claim that Obama has somehow “apologized” for American actions and is “sympathizing” with the attackers:

We have seen a foreign policy of weakness and decline in American influence and respect. Yesterday, we saw the consequences of this perceived weakness. […]

The Administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions. […]

Somehow—despite the wide condemnation from Democrats and other Republicans—Romney thinks this will work well for his campaign. I have another theory; if Romney doesn’t control the damage from this misstep, he might do irreparable harm to his campaign. Voters will forgive a whole host of mistakes, but they are less than kind toward candidates who show rashness or unpredictability. I’m not sure that this has reached the broader public, but if it does, it could prove to be another blow to a campaign that needs to catch a break.


Here's my take on his double-down: All of the left and a good chunk of the center already dislike Romney. All that he has left is to rile up his base. He fears losing, and fears that his loss will be met with a "conservatism can't fail, it can only be failed" / no-true-scotsman argument from the GOP base. That is, they'll blame Romney personally, not their own platform. So, he figures if he's going to lose, might as well pin it on the base. * He'll say and do exactly as they wish in all their Palin-esque Tea Party glory. That way, when he loses, he can say, "Hey, you can't blame me!" I don't think he'll push that into full-birther mode (although he did make that one birth certificate joke), but between the Welfare lies, this statement about the consulate, and his total reversal on gay rights, abortion, guns, etc. I think that's what he's doing. I think this is more of the same.

*The other option is that he's just a spineless man with no convictions of his own, but I don't see why those two things must be mutually exclusive.

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