Romney: Administration’s Story on Ambassador Death 'Troubling'

Friday, 12 Oct 2012 02:19 PM

By Paul Scicchitano and Ronald Kessler

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GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney charged in an exclusive interview with Newsmax TV that the American people should expect “candor and transparency” from the Obama administration over the Sept. 11 terrorist attack that resulted in the death of a U.S. ambassador and three others, but “what we saw from Ambassador Rice appears to be something less than that.”

“I think it’s a very important question and a very troubling question to understand how it was that for such a long period of time the administration continued to insist that this was the response to a video when quite clearly it was knowledge well before that there was not a demonstration, that it was instead a terrorist attack, successful attack on 9/11,” Romney asserted in an exclusive interview on Friday.

Romney was also critical of Vice President Joe Biden’s statement during Thursday’s debate that the administration knew nothing about the request for more security at the Benghazi consulate.

Urgent Poll: Romney or Obama to Handle Foreign Crisis? Vote Here!

“That’s obviously in direct opposition to the testimony that was provided by the State Department to Congress in a hearing just yesterday,” said Romney. “I think people want to understand how he said what he said and who it was that was speaking the truth, and whether someone was not being accurate. That’s a major question, a very troubling question, that’s been raised by the debate.”

In the days immediately after the attack, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice insisted the administration had been operating under the assumption that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to an anti-Islamic video that ridiculed Islam's Prophet Muhammad and ignited mob protests on U.S. embassies around the Middle East and in North Africa.

The attack claimed the lives of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.

“This is the first American ambassador killed in 33 years in an assassination so obviously it’s a real interest, and there will be ongoing hearings to determine what went on,” explained the former Massachusetts governor. “But we expect candor and transparency from the administration and what we saw from Ambassador Rice appears to be something less than that.”

See the exclusive Newsmax interview with former Gov. Mitt Romney below:





While the Obama administration later began to call it a terrorist attack carried out by al-Qaida-linked militants, Republicans have seized on the administration's changing narrative, saying the administration was too slow to label it a terrorist attack because, they said, the White House did not want to admit its policies had failed to defeat al-Qaida and quell anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world.

Asked if he felt vindicated after taking criticism early on in the crisis for expressing outrage that the U.S. embassy in Cairo appeared to be sympathizing with attackers, Romney stood by his earlier comments.

“I think the comment came from the embassy in Egypt, was on the website, and was reiterated on their website,” he recalled. “They (embassy personnel) said they once again reaffirmed what they had said earlier and that was for some 13 hours, and finally we said, ‘this is the wrong kind of statement.’”

Urgent Poll: Romney or Obama to Handle Foreign Crisis? Vote Here!

Romney noted that the White House “repudiated” the embassy statement as well.

“I think in a time like this, you talk about the outrage associated with violence of that nature,” according to Romney.

With respect to the vice presidential debate, Romney praised the performance of running mate Paul Ryan.

“I think there was one person on the stage who was respectful, who was serious, who was sober, and provided the kind of confidence that should hope to find in someone who you’d turn to in a crisis, and that was Paul Ryan,” he said.

Romney noted that the moderator asked both Ryan and Biden to describe how they’d get the economy going and create new jobs.

“Paul Ryan had a response, laid out what he would do, what we would do, to get this economy going. And Vice President Biden simply attacked Paul Ryan,” Romney insisted. “The Obama/Biden team can’t defend the results of the last four years because we are not better off than we were four years ago.”

Moreover, Democrats “don’t have any proposals to make things better,” he said. “The only ideas that have come forward are ideas of saying we want to hire more government workers and have another stimulus and invest in things we believe in and raise taxes on people.”

He added: “I don’t know anyone who thinks raising taxes will encourage economic growth or encourage employers to hire people so I think it was another setting where people were very disappointed with what they heard from the Obama team.”

As for his own debate with President Obama, which most analysts say Romney won, the GOP standard bearer had his own take on the president’s contention that he may have been too polite.

“I think that if a debate hasn’t gone as well as you’d like it to go, there may be an effort to try to find excuses,” said Romney. “I’ve noted this has been an administration which has been long on excuses and short on results and I really, I worry less about what happens in debates and more about what happens in the country.”

Urgent Poll: Romney or Obama to Handle Foreign Crisis? Vote Here!

In a wide-ranging interview, Romney also:

Declared that while President Obama is trying to save Big Bird, “we’re going to save the American family."
Pledged to “work very hard for our young people to understand that there is a big advantage to getting married before having kids . . .”




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