Obama administration disavows Cairo embassy statement criticizing free speech
It should be noted that the Obama administration only condemned this statement after it became controversial -- a clear sign that they probably agreed with it, until they didn't.
The Obama administration is disavowing a statement from its own Cairo embassy that seemed to apologize for anti-Muslim activity in the United States.
"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official told POLITICO.
The U.S. embassy in Cairo put out a statement early Tuesday that apologized for an anti-Muslim film being circulated by an Israeli-American real estate developer.
"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," the embassy said in a statement published online.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the film depicts the Muslim prophet Muhammed as a "womanizer, pedophile and fraud" - a depiction bound to offend many Muslims.
The embassy came under widespread criticism for failing to defend free speech in the face of threats of violence. Egyptian protesters rioted anyway, breaching the embassy walls and tearing down the American flag.
"Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind," Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in a Tuesday statement.
Romney, who should be making hay of the administration's tepid response to the violence yesterday, offered up a strong response:
"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," Romney said.
This is going to be an explosive day, politically speaking. Obama is going to have to deal with the results of his Middle East policy, which encourged the Islamists to take over. And Romney will have to walk a fine line between criticizing the president while appearing not to take advantage of the deaths in Libya.