The PJ Tatler

McCain Defends Romney's Embassy Statement

Timid Republicans take note: John McCain spent 5 years in a prison camp being beaten and starved. Is that what it takes to show a little backbone and support your nominee when he stands up for what’s right?


Sen. John McCain on Sunday defended Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney’s criticism of a Cairo embassy statement seeming apologetic for an anti-Islamic film trailer that some say sparked last week’s attacks at overseas U.S. posts, saying the media’s coverage of it was “saddening.”

“If you look at the statement that was given by the American embassy, and later disavowed by the [Obama] administration itself – of course, that was a very weak statement. This is – it was a semi-apology,” the Republican senator from Arizona said on CBS’s “Face the Nation.” “We shouldn’t be apologizing for freedom of speech. We should be saying we demand freedom of speech for these people. That’s one of the fundamentals of democracy. So, the lack of symmetry on the part of the media in this campaign on this issue and on Medicare and others, it’s just saddening to me.”

The narrative being promoted by the media is that this was a Romney gaffe. Nicholas Kristof  went so far as to say that “Mitt Romney spent the last week blowing up his foreign policy credentials to be president.” I think it was Romney’s finest hour and while anything said during a campaign will be attacked as politically exploitive, Romney was absolutely correct to 1) Blast the response from the Obama administration which was only a couple of degrees less objectionable than the embassy statement; and 2) Not mention the stupid film that the Islamists claim upset them so, but rather stand up tall for freedom of expression.

This is worth defending, even if Romney made a mistake and assumed the embassy statement was a response to the attacks rather than an apologia delivered 6 hours before the walls were breached. (There was no time stamp on the statement and it didn’t hit the wires until about the time the wall was breached.) Romney issued the correct response. The president did not. That should be the narrative and would be if GOP leaders weren’t frightened of going against the grain and defending their nominee.