Inside the public relations disaster at the Cairo embassy and the Obama Administration's failures

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    Sep 13, 2012 10:59 AM GMT
    http://thecable.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/09/12/inside_the_public_relations_disaster_at_the_cairo_embassy

    One staffer at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo was responsible for the statement and tweets Tuesday that have become grist for the presidential campaign, and that staffer ignored explicit State Department instructions not to issue the statement, one U.S. official close to the issue told The Cable.

    Two additional administration officials confirmed the details of this account when contacted late Wednesday by The Cable.

    The statement, issued as a press release on the U.S. Embassy website, has been attacked by Republican challenger Mitt Romney, lawmakers, and conservatives around the country as an inappropriate "apology" and a failure to stand up for American principles such as freedom of speech.

    The White House distanced itself from the statement Tuesday, and Romney criticized it directly in his initial reaction to the attacks in Egypt and Libya shortly thereafter, accusing President Barack Obama of evicing sympathy for the attackers.
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    Sep 13, 2012 11:08 AM GMT
    There was nothing wrong with that statement. Many Republucans have said so. Also, during a crisis like that is not the time to be nit-picking, criticizing the president, and trying to make political hay. If one is not just flat out wrong in one's criticisms, it's bad form.

    Romney can beat his drum all he wants. He has damaged his image as a stable leader able to keep a cool head in a crisis. Only the guys running around America in tri-corner hats and carrying muskets are impressed with his performance.
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    Sep 13, 2012 11:11 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidRomney can beat his drum all he wants. He has damaged his image as a stable leader able to keep a cool head in a crisis. Only the guys running around America in tri-corner hats and carrying muskets are impressed with his performance.


    Exactly. He's increasingly proving himself to be not just out of touch and willing to say anything to hurt Obama, no matter how false, but potentially dangerous if he were CIC.
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    Sep 13, 2012 11:27 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidThere was nothing wrong with that statement. Many Republucans have said so. Also, during a crisis like that is not the time to be nit-picking, criticizing the president, and trying to make political hay. If one is not just flat out wrong in one's criticisms, it's bad form.

    Romney can beat his drum all he wants. He has damaged his image as a stable leader able to keep a cool head in a crisis. Only the guys running around America in tri-corner hats and carrying muskets are impressed with his performance.


    By your standard, Obama damaged his own image long ago when he used troop deaths to criticize Bush - July 13, 2008:
    http://freebeacon.com/candidates-and-crisis/

    Or John Kerry in 2004, "On a day when seven U.S. servicemen were killed in a suicide bombing attack in Iraq, [John] Kerry termed the war in Iraq ‘catastrophic."
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/articles/A895-2004Sep6.html

    Or do you have a double standard?

    The only ones impressed by Obama's performance here are the lapdogs in the press and his fawning supporters who are willing to overlook all else for gains on issues of personal importance.

    Now, for those who are a bit more serious about things like foreign policy and US Security, they should be asking why Obama skipped his security briefing most recently on Egypt/Libya AND why there was no Marine guard for diplomatic staff in a still unstable country like Libya. Sending 40 Marines now is a bit late, no?
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    Sep 13, 2012 11:35 AM GMT
    I think deaths are more concrete, demonstrable, and substantial, than nit-picking the wording of a memo. Also, were Obama or Kerry out in front of the mic as the very events were still occurring?

    And speaking of demonstrable, your lapdog assertion is wrong. Republicans are criticizing Romney. Nobody is getting wrapped around the axle about this but the Romneyites.
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    Sep 13, 2012 11:42 AM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidI think deaths are more concrete, demonstrable, and substantial, than nit-picking the wording of a memo. Also, were Obama or Kerry out in front of the mic as the very events were still occurring?

    And speaking of demonstrable, your lapdog assertion is wrong. Republicans are criticizing Romney. Nobody is getting wrapped around the axel about this but the Romneyites.


    They were on the same day. Further, the release of the Romney statement was occurring just as the attacks on Benghazi were happening. His original statement was about the Cairo apologism in response to the earlier attacks. So again, why the double standard?

    Most Republicans appear to be solidly behind Romney on this. Many of the press are roundly criticizing Romney and were even caught on an open mic coordinating questions of attack whereas the Obama Administration took no questions.

    In the aftermath, the only ones who look particularly bad in this are the compliant press and the Obama Administration for their failure to protect their diplomatic personnel. Heck, the New York Times didn't even think this story was important enough to put on the front page!
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    Sep 13, 2012 12:01 PM GMT
    In re-reading your comment - lemme ask you this - do you think the US is to blame for 9/11?
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    Sep 13, 2012 12:27 PM GMT
    I didn’t much like it when it happened to 43 and I also don’t care for it when it happens to 44, whether I agree or disagree with 44 or not, and I’m certainly going to be a Romney voter. We have one president at a time and I think candidates for POTUS should be a little more careful or maybe more muted at a time like this.
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    Sep 13, 2012 12:36 PM GMT
    freedomisntfree saidI didn’t much like it when it happened to 43 and I also don’t care for it when it happens for 44, whether I agree or disagree with 44 or not, and I’m certainly going to be a Romney voter We have one president at a time and I think candidates for POTUS should be a little more careful or maybe more muted at a time like this.


    The original statement release wasn't a reflection of the attacks in Benghazi.
    http://www.nationalreview.com/corner/316631/romneys-awkward-spot-daniel-foster (I think you would find this an interesting full read).

    It was after the the attacks in Benghazi that the statement also got swept up by the press - further, I think the directed criticism is right in that there should be no excuses for these attacks. Apologies add to the image that the US is weak and keeps it vulnerable to more attacks given how these extremist groups use these statements.
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    Sep 13, 2012 12:47 PM GMT
    The original statement from the Embassy in Cairo:

    http://reason.com/blog/2012/09/12/whats-so-hard-about-saying-in-the-united

    The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others


    One good response:
    http://nationalinterest.org/commentary/freedom-speech-religion-collide-cairo-7465

    In point of fact, making a movie commenting on the sexual proclivities of someone who died some fourteen hundred years ago in no way constitutes "incitement" under any meaningful use of the term.


    It's also remarkable that the focus of the media has been to shift the fact away the official representative of the US government to Libya was killed. In fact it seems they are far more angry about statements Romney made than the violent act itself which many of whom chose not to even give prominent space...
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:11 PM GMT
    This opinion is absolutely on the mark. The "shoot first and aim later" blather results from Romney making comments while Obama and company were tying to assess the political impact. What must send chills down the spine of the Obama team is this clearly shows the contrast between Romney sending a strong statement and the "apology" comment from the Obama Administration in Cairo. Even though the Administration distanced itself from those comments, they still reflect what everyone knows, that Obama's policy is based on apologies, mixed messages, and weakness. The mid-east is more dangerous and Russia is more emboldened as a result.

    The contrast between Romney's strong message and Obama's continued apology posture, starting with his apology tour in 2009, is stark. That's why the RJ folks and the media are so shrill denouncing Romney. Won't work people.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390443884104577647830171289116.html?mod=ITP_opinion_2

    Romney Offends the Pundits - Doesn't he know he's not supposed to debate foreign policy?

    Tuesday's assaults on the U.S. Embassies in Benghazi and Cairo have injected foreign policy into the Presidential campaign, but suddenly the parsons of the press corps are offended by the debate. They're upset that Mitt Romney had the gall to criticize the State Department for a statement that the White House itself disavowed.

    We're referring to the statement issued Tuesday under the headline "U.S. Embassy Condemns Religious Incitement." The statement came in response to Muslim protests against a 13-minute anti-Islamic video making the rounds on YouTube.

    In response to anger in Egypt at the video, the Embassy in Cairo issued its statement saying that "The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims—as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions." It added that, "Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others."

    One problem is that the statement came not long before Egyptian protestors stormed the Embassy and some of them made it over a wall and into the compound. An Embassy Twitter post after the assault said its earlier statement "still stands."

    Mr. Romney reacted late Tuesday with his own statement: "I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." He followed Wednesday with a press conference reinforcing his criticisms of the Administration's "mixed signals" on "our values."

    The Obama Presidential campaign jumped on the remarks Wednesday as inappropriate, yet a "senior Administration official" had told the website Politico later on Tuesday night that "The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government." So the White House can walk away from its own diplomats, but Mr. Romney can't criticize them?

    Whatever the timing of the Cairo Embassy's statements, Mr. Romney is right that a U.S. Embassy ought to ignore YouTube videos produced by obscure cranks. As Tuesday's events showed, pandering to Islamists who would use the video to inflame anti-American sentiment isn't going to stop the protests. The video "Innocence of Muslims" is inflammatory and its producer is a fool, but in the U.S. we don't censor fools.

    The broader point is that the attacks on the embassies do raise questions about how America has fared in the world in the last four years. (See above.) 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.

    His political faux pax was to offend a pundit class that wants to cede the foreign policy debate to Mr. Obama without thinking seriously about the trouble for America that is building in the world.
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:12 PM GMT
    http://spectator.org/archives/2012/09/13/mr-president-mitt-romney-is-no

    By Ben Stein

    So, let me get this straight:

    It is September 11, 2012. An Al Qaeda sponsored mob is marching, running, screaming towards the U.S. Embassy in Cairo. Supposedly they are angry about an e-mail cartoon about the Islamic figure, Mohammed. It is known right away that the organizers of the march are the same entity that did the mass murder of Americans on 9.11.01.

    The Embassy issues an apology for an American using his free speech rights about a matter of deep concern. They attempt to appease the mob. It doesn't work. The mobs acts violently and disrespectfully towards the U.S. Embassy. They are al Qaeda. This is what they do.

    No comment or almost none from Mr. Obama.

    Then an al Qaeda mob attacks the U.S. Mission in Benghazi, Libya, burns it, kills the U.S. Ambassador and three other heroic American diplomats. Again, in a classic al Qaeda move, it is all timed perfectly to infuriate the USA. It isn't spontaneous. It was 9/11, for Pete's sake.

    No comment from Mr. Obama except terse condolences.

    Then along comes Governor Romney, who rightly says, "Hey, why are we appeasing an al Qaeda mob? Why aren't we calling these guys the vicious killers that they are? Why are we back in this apology to bad guys mode?"

    Then, and only then, the Obama White House goes into hyper drive. It turns out that the real problem is not al Qaeda. No, and it's not Mr. Obama's appeasement. No, the real threat to America is (wait for it), Mitt Romney. Yes!!! According to White House uber-pal, MSNBC's Rachel Maddow, Romney is working with the terrorists against the U.S. government by calling for criticism of the al Qaeda!

    Yes, Romney is the enemy for pointing out that Mr. Obama is ass kissing the terrorists!


    This is terrifying. The media line up to get their marching orders from the Obama Ministry of Truth and suddenly it's Gospel: the problem is not al Qaeda. It is Romney. With a "more in sorrow than in anger…" look and tone, Mr. Obama pities Romney's naïveté.

    This is disgusting. It is nauseating. This is what happens when you have a one-party media. The lie becomes the truth. George Orwell saw it coming. In 1984, his MiniTrue had up its mission.

    Who controls the present, controls the past.
    Who controls the past controls the future.

    It has happened. The MSM and the White House have outlawed truth. Some of us old ones can remember when it was legal and the media worked to keep it alive. Now, like the firemen in Fahrenheit 451, the MSM press exists to obliterate truth -- not to preserve it.

    Meanwhile, Mr. Netanyahu begs the U.S. to do something to protect it and the world from the Iranian bomb. Mr. Obama bobs and weaves to avoid contact with reality and responsibility. No one even mentions that if we had allowed Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush to build ABM defense, the whole world would be a safer place, and we race towards war or an Islamic control of our expression or both, and the master politician gets ready for his turn on Letterman.

    God help us.

    How I wish that someone that Mr. Obama respects (I have no idea if there is such a person) would look him in the eye and say, "Look, Mr. President, those Muslim terrorists in al Qaeda are not our friends. They have done terrible things to us. They have just done something brand new and horrible to us: they murdered our ambassador to Libya. No matter how much you kiss up to them, they will not be our friends. Maybe you think they'll be your friends because you have so many Muslim friends in the black community in Chicago.

    "But they won't. They hurt us whenever they can. They are blood brothers to the people who run Iran. THEY ARE NOT REASONABLE PEOPLE. You cannot appease them into peace any more than Chamberlain could appease Hitler.

    "The only thing they respect is strength. That's it. Their guru, Osama bin Laden, put it well. 'Between a strong horse and a weak horse, people will favor the strong horse.'

    "That's what we have to learn, Mr. President. We have to be the strong horse. Not the buttering up horse. The strong horse. Get it?"

    The big problem is that there is no one Mr. Obama really respects to tell him the truth and we will all have to pay for it.
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:29 PM GMT
    http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/249193-aggressive-romney-hits-at-president
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:48 PM GMT
    Riddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."
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    Sep 13, 2012 1:50 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidRiddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."

    Some have exactly the opposite view as you. Read my posts above. I strongly suspect Americans are sick of the Administration's continual apology posture and will react positively to Romney's firm comments. We'll see.
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:05 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidRiddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    Again I don't think you're right on this. I don't think Romney is being judged as having performed poorly here - and I also think that in the coming days the Obama Administration will look even worse. As for obsessions... you might want to have a look at the other threads on this topic (ignoring for a moment the unfortunate one with the initial breaking story) if I am "obsessed" that kinda makes them more than a bit loony... including metta8.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Sep 13, 2012 2:10 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 saidRomney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    That may be your opinion and many others, but it is not shared by everybody. Time will tell how this will truly play out. Obviously, in the short run, the Democrats will be pouncing and spinning this is as a Romney gaffe. However, in the long run this could play out quite differently. Romney made the, admittedly, bold but risky move of stepping out in front on this and voicing his perception. It was applied directly to the current crisis, while at the same time voicing a 3 point Foreign Policy mindset that he would bring as President if elected. Personally, I see this as a positive in The Bigger Picture, however that's just an opinion --- and everyone has one.
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:17 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    Caslon21000 saidRomney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    That may be your opinion and many others, but it is not shared by everybody. Time will tell how this will truly play out. Obviously, in the short run, the Democrats will be pouncing and spinning this is as a Romney gaffe. However, in the long run this could play out quite differently. Romney made the, admittedly, bold but risky move of stepping out in front on this and voicing his perception. It was applied directly to the current crisis, while at the same time voicing a 3 point Foreign Policy mindset that he would bring as President if elected. Personally, I see this as a positive in The Bigger Picture, however that's just an opinion --- and everyone has one.

    Its an opinion generally not shared by right wing fringe lunatics. But the average American is getting increasingly fearful of Romney
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:22 PM GMT
    riddler78 said
    Caslon21000 saidRiddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    Again I don't think you're right on this. I don't think Romney is being judged as having performed poorly here - and I also think that in the coming days the Obama Administration will look even worse. As for obsessions... you might want to have a look at the other threads on this topic (ignoring for a moment the unfortunate one with the initial breaking story) if I am "obsessed" that kinda makes them more than a bit loony... including metta8.
    even in the link you posted, repubs are critical of Romney. I am sure today and going forward Romneyites are going to try to get their train back on track and concoct a seemingly seamless narrative for his actions. But it's too late. People were aghast by him yesterday and that's the impression that is going to last with independents.
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:24 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 said
    riddler78 said
    Caslon21000 saidRiddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    Again I don't think you're right on this. I don't think Romney is being judged as having performed poorly here - and I also think that in the coming days the Obama Administration will look even worse. As for obsessions... you might want to have a look at the other threads on this topic (ignoring for a moment the unfortunate one with the initial breaking story) if I am "obsessed" that kinda makes them more than a bit loony... including metta8.
    even in the link you posted, repubs are critical of Romney. I am sure today and going forward Romneyites are going to try to get their train back on track and concoct a seemingly seamless narrative for his actions. But it's to late. People were aghast by him yesterday and that's the impression that is going to last with independents.

    I highly doubt your assessment, but we'll see.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Sep 13, 2012 2:28 PM GMT
    catfish5 saidBut the average American is getting increasingly fearful of Romney



    Oh really, according to who -- "The Catfish Book Of All Things Politics"??? LOL. We won't truly know what "The Average American" is thinking until Election Day.
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:34 PM GMT
    CuriousJockAZ said
    catfish5 saidBut the average American is getting increasingly fearful of Romney



    Oh really, according to who -- "The Catfish Book Of All Things Politics"??? LOL. We won't truly know what "The Average American" is thinking until Election Day.


    Of course polls dont matter on election day but are a good indicator regarding the mood of the general public at a specific point in time. Polls currently show Obama with his greatest lead over Romney since this election cycle started.
  • CuriousJockAZ

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    Sep 13, 2012 2:38 PM GMT
    catfish5 said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    catfish5 saidBut the average American is getting increasingly fearful of Romney



    Oh really, according to who -- "The Catfish Book Of All Things Politics"??? LOL. We won't truly know what "The Average American" is thinking until Election Day.


    Of course polls dont matter on election day but are a good indicator regarding the mood of the general public at a specific point in time. Polls currently show Obama with his greatest lead over Romney since this election cycle started.


    Only one poll matters
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:38 PM GMT
    catfish5 said
    CuriousJockAZ said
    Caslon21000 saidRomney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    That may be your opinion and many others, but it is not shared by everybody. Time will tell how this will truly play out. Obviously, in the short run, the Democrats will be pouncing and spinning this is as a Romney gaffe. However, in the long run this could play out quite differently. Romney made the, admittedly, bold but risky move of stepping out in front on this and voicing his perception. It was applied directly to the current crisis, while at the same time voicing a 3 point Foreign Policy mindset that he would bring as President if elected. Personally, I see this as a positive in The Bigger Picture, however that's just an opinion --- and everyone has one.

    Its an opinion generally not shared by right wing fringe lunatics. But the average American is getting increasingly fearful of Romney


    Are you holding yourself out as the average American? icon_wink.gif
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    Sep 13, 2012 2:42 PM GMT
    Caslon21000 said
    riddler78 said
    Caslon21000 saidRiddler, dear heart, it doesn't matter what you think or what examples you want to drag up and claim double standards. It only matters what people think now. And Romney is being judged as having performed poorly in this crisis. People are not sitting around obsessing like you. And their impression of Romney is "not presidential material."


    Again I don't think you're right on this. I don't think Romney is being judged as having performed poorly here - and I also think that in the coming days the Obama Administration will look even worse. As for obsessions... you might want to have a look at the other threads on this topic (ignoring for a moment the unfortunate one with the initial breaking story) if I am "obsessed" that kinda makes them more than a bit loony... including metta8.
    even in the link you posted, repubs are critical of Romney. I am sure today and going forward Romneyites are going to try to get their train back on track and concoct a seemingly seamless narrative for his actions. But it's too late. People were aghast by him yesterday and that's the impression that is going to last with independents.


    I think the lasting impression will be why was the Ambassador left in a location that was so insecure in a high risk country. I also don't think that the vast majority of Americans accept the view that the US should be apologizing for the religious views of anyone.