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Sideless: Romney goes without a friend in national editorials (updated)


A look at the national newspaper editorials and on who's side they came down, two days after the Libya incident...

The New York Times took President Obama's side. "President Obama’s statement of outrage and his vow to bring the killers to justice received bipartisan support, including from politicians otherwise committed to partisan warfare, like the House speaker, John Boehner, and the Senate minority leader, Mitch McConnell, who rarely misses a chance to attack Mr. Obama," the editorial staff wrote. "But not from Mitt Romney, who wants Americans to believe he can be president but showed an extraordinary lack of presidential character by using the murders of the Americans in Libya as an excuse not just to attack Mr. Obama, but to do so in a way that suggested either a dangerous ignorance of the facts or an equally dangerous willingness to twist them to his narrow partisan aims."

The Washington Post also landed on Obama's side, editorializing that instead of prompting bipartisanship, the attacks "provoked a series of crude political attacks on President Obama by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney." The Post said Obama "struck the right tone" in commenting on the incident. Meanwhile, "Romney should have followed the example of Condoleezza Rice who "who issued a statement Wednesday lamenting “the tragic loss of life at our consulate,” praising Mr. Stevens as “a wonderful officer and a terrific diplomat” and offering “thoughts and prayers” to “all the loved ones of the fallen.”

The Wall Street Journal attacks Obama, doesn't mention Mitt Romney: "The Obama Presidency has been an era of slowly building tension and disorder that seems likely to flare into larger troubles and perhaps even military conflict no matter who wins in November. ... In the Persian Gulf, across the Arab Spring and into the Western Pacific, the U.S. is perceived as a declining power. As that perception spreads, the world's bad actors are asserting themselves to fill the vacuum, and American interests and assets will increasingly become targets unless the trend is reversed." Romney wasn't referenced even once in the editorial.

USA Today editorialized for and against both; ie. the paper didn't take a position: "President Obama, who struck the appropriate, level-headed tone in his initial response to the attacks, will need to react more forcefully if [Egypt President Mohamed] Morsi won't comply with the basic obligations of statesmanship," the paper wrote. As for Romney, the "Republican challenger ... rightly said America shouldn't apologize for its values but erred in moving so quickly to make political hay of an unfolding tragedy."

UPDATE: A separate editorial by the WSJ actually does take Romney's side in regards to his vision of foreign policy: "[T]he attacks on the embassies do raise questions about how America has fared in the world in the last four years. Throughout his candidacy, Mr. Romney has supported the necessity of America's global leadership, sometimes against the wishes of Republican voters. His comments this week are consistent with that worldview, which is also consistent with that of every recent conservative President."

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