President Barack Obama's comment about the Arab Spring encountering "bumps in the road" has caught the ire of conservatives. The critiques have been especially pronounced, considering the death and destruction that has resulted from violent events in the Middle East of late.
In addition to Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, commentator Charles Krauthammer has also weighed in, lambasting Obama over his statement, which was made during a recent CBS News interview.
To provide a brief recap, the drama unfolded after Steve Kroft of "60 Minutes" asked Obama, "Have the events that took place in the Middle East, the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"
The president's responded, discussing the "bumps in the road" that have unfolded in the Middle East of late. To some, like Krauthammer, this statement diminishes what has occurred in Egypt, Libya and other localities (the killing of U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and the desecration of the American flag at numerous locations).
Here's Obama's full response to Kroft's questioning (emphasis added):
"Well, I'd said even at the time that this is going to be a rocky path. The question presumes that somehow we could have stopped this wave of change. I think it was absolutely the right thing for us to do to align ourselves with democracy, universal rights, a notion that people have to be able to participate in their own governance. But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam. The one part of society that hasn't been controlled completely by the government.
There are strains of extremism, and anti-Americanism, and anti-Western sentiment. And, you know, can be tapped into by demagogues. There will probably be some times where we bump up against some of these countries and have strong disagreements, but I do think that over the long term we are more likely to get a Middle East and North Africa that is more peaceful, more prosperous and more aligned with our interests."
Krauthammer commented about Obama's "bump in the road" comments, distinguishing the events that have unfolded in the Middle East as very serious and warranting a label above and beyond what the president gave them. In a panel discussion on Fox News, the commentator unleashed his views on Obama's statements.
"If Romney had said that the death of our ambassador, the attack on our embassy, the death of three other Americans, the hoisting of the black al Qaeda flag over four U.S. embassies, and demonstrations all over the Middle East all the way to Indonesia including a burning in effigy of Obama in Sri Lanka of all places is a bump in the road, it would be a three day headline," he contended. "You hardly hear about it at all anywhere."
Watch Krauthammer's comments, below:
These comments reflect critiques that have come from Romney in the wake of Obama's statements as well.
"These are no bumps in the road. These are human lives," Romney said this week, later echoing the same sentiment in an ABC News Interview. "I can't imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road."
(H/T: Weasel Zippers)