Romney’s Struggles (cont’d)

By Jeffrey Page

There he goes again. Mitt Romney, who never allows the truth to stand in the way of what looks like a lethal blow against an opponent, told a whopper at the Tuesday night debate. But he was caught. And I am left wondering what it is about the protocols of presidential politics that seems to require a debater to say, “Governor, that’s not true” rather than “Governor, that’s a damned lie.”

This time, the issue was Romney’s shameless – and ultimately fact-less – politicization of the attack on the United States diplomatic mission in Benghazi.

Romney smelled blood in the water. He would nail President Obama for not responding quickly enough to the attack and specifically for failing to label the assault – in which four Americans including the ambassador to Libya were killed – an act of terrorism.

For weeks before the debate, he hinted that Obama somehow had dismissed the incident as the spontaneous actions of demonstrators enraged by the making of the 14-minute movie “The Innocence of Muslims,” which maligns the prophet Mohammed, rather than as a planned act of pure terror.

Now, the fact is that you know the truth about Obama’s behavior after the attack, I know the truth, the president certainly knows the truth, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton knows the truth, and anybody who was paying attention on Sept. 12 knows the truth. Maybe even Romney knows the truth, or maybe he’ll say anything, do anything, suggest anything – anything at all – to get elected.

It took too long for Obama to conclude this was an act of terror?

As it turns out, President Obama and Secretary Clinton appeared in the White House Rose Garden the day after the attack on the Libyan mission to express their sorrow to the families of the dead, their anger at the killers, their concern for American-Libyan relations, and their resolve to bring the killers to justice.

And there it was. “No acts of terror,” Obama said, “will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” Poor Mitt.

At the debate, Romney was flabbergasted when the question of what the president said and when he said it, was raised. “I think [it] interesting the president just said something, which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.”

Obama: “That’s what I said.”

Romney couldn’t believe it: “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror, it was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?”

A moment later, Romney, still confounded, said: “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

Obama: “Get the transcript.”

In stepped Candy Crowley, the moderator: “He did call it an act of terror. It did as well take – it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea [of] there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.”

This wasn’t good enough for Romney, or else he didn’t care about the veracity of his criticism of Obama. Or maybe it was Romney’s secret message to the American people in which he revealed his personal pathetic inadequacy. It’s Mitt Romney who has sworn that on his first day in office as president he would label the Chinese as “currency manipulators.” First day leaves little time for discussion and reasonableness.

The first debate revealed a lot about Romney. Tuesday night’s meeting confirmed it. There’s his casual relationship with the facts and the truth. There’s his constant smirk. There’s his contempt for authority, such as his interrupting the moderator to try and set his own rules of engagement. There’s his dismissal of the rules of the game. There’s his continual attempt to get the last word even when the last word is not his to get.

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