tv Special Report With Bret Baier FOX News September 12, 2012 3:00pm-4:00pm PDT
you picked it up on the street. like finding $20 outside. we'll investigate and report back tomorrow. that's it for "the five." thank you for watching. see you tomorrow. bye-bye. ♪ ♪ >> bret: the death of an american ambassador as the arab spring threatens to turn to autumn of discontent. all right in the middle of a presidential campaign. this is "special report." ♪ ♪ >> bret: good evening, i'm bret baier. election season that was supposed to be jobs and the economy is suddenly being hijacked by what they have been coordinated attacks on two american diplomatic posts overseas resulting in the murder of u.s. ambassador to libya and three others. we have every angle covered.
politics, policy, reality on the ground in libya and egypt tonight. but first, to start, a detailed timeline. this actually all began late monday. mon, september 10, 11:46 p.m. video by ayman al-zawahiri, the egyptian doctor now believed to be spiritual leader, emir of al-qaeda surfaces. he mourns the death of al-dibi, a top al-qaeda member killed in a drone strike in june. al-zawahiri uses the eulogy to call fighters to avenge alibii death. renewed jihad against the u.s. the video cuts to a clip of his younger brother, muhammad al-zawahiri. something noted by people who study the tapes. early on tuesday, septembe september 11, the u.s. embassy if cairo egypt prepares for expected protests oaf an anti-islam video made in the u.s. a.p. quotes a u.s. official saying embassy security had sent most staff home early, after learning of the upcoming
protest. 6:00 a.m., noon cairo time, embassy officials in cairo issue a statement about the video. condemning the "continuing efforts by misguided individuals" to hurt the religious feelings of muslims. 12:00 noon eastern, the statement is seen online and linked op twitter. 12:15 p.m. wire services alert that cairo protesters are scaling the walls of the embassy and tearing the american flag. replacing it with a black islamic flag that resembles al-qaeda flag. witnesses report hearing some chanting we are all osama. 4:29:00 p.m. embassy officials tweet that protesters breached our wall and took down flag. 5:00 p.m. wires cross, reporting clashes at the consulate in benghazi, libya. one u.s. official is believed to have been killed. maybe one wounded. 6:30 p.m. the cairo embassy tweets this morning's condemnation issued before the protest began still
stands. as does our condemnation of the breach. 10:09 p.m. romney campaign releases a statement from governor romney on libya and egypt, embargoed until midnight. expressing outrage at the attacks and saying, "it's disgraceful that the obama administration first response was not to condemn attacks but sympathize with those who wage the attacks." 10:10:00 p.m., the obama administration disavows the cairo embassy statement release some 16 hours earlier in the day. telling politico that the statement, "was not cleared by washington" and does not reflect the views of the united states government. 10:25 p.m. the romney campaign lifts the embargo. sometime after midnight, the original cairo embassy statement and subsequent tweets are removed from the website and the twitter account. 12:09 a.m., obama campaign spokesman e-mails reporters saying the campaign is shocked that governor romney would choose to launch political
attack at this time. 5:30 a.m. wednesday the 12. confirmation that the u.s. ambassador to libya, christophersteins and three other staff -- christopher stevens and three other staff members were killed in the benghazi attack. 9:27 a.m. secretary clinton speaks at the state department. >> this was an attack by a small and savage group. >> 10:16 a.m., governor romney addresses the attacks and his chricriticism. >> in the face of the violence, america cannot shrink from the responseability to lead. >> 10:42, president obama talks about the benghazi attack from the rose garden. >> the united states condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. >> 12:30 p.m. intelligence officials confirm ayman al-zawahiri's brother was at the protest in cairo. president obama is being criticized for sending mixed messages while his republican opponent is accused of jumping the gun to make political points.
team fox coverage. carl cameron has mitt romney's response from the campaign trail. jennifer griffin assesses the situation in the middle east and northern africa. we begin with the chief white house correspondent ed henry on the president's reaction today. good evening, ed. >> good evening, bret. tonight, the president is blasting mitt romney for his criticism of the administration's initial response. mr. obama telling cbs "60 minutes" that mr. romney has a tendency to shoot first and aim later. >> in cold blood, four americans murdered by a mob in benghazi. in a bat that lasted four hours on the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks. including u.s. ambassador to libya chris stevens. the first american ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1979. raising alarm bells about american outposts all around the globe. >> i've directed my administration to increase the security at diplomatic posts around the world. make no mistake, we will work
with the libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people. >> mr. are early signs the attack was planned and the protest outside the consulate related to anti-muslim movie may have been a diversion. senior u.s. official stressed it's early in the investigation, u.s. a probing all leads including the possibility the attack was tied to the 9/11 anniversary. >> it was a coordinated military style commando type raid that had direct fire and indirect fire, military movements involved in it. if this was a well-planned, well targeted event no, doubt about it. >> the president did not take questions. so he was not pressed on whether security was tight enough on the anniversary. or how he specifically plans to meet out justice. in his remarks made no mention of the separate attack on the u.s. embassy in cairo. republicans tried to lay blame for the violence across the
mideast on the doorstep of the oval office. >> we're not engaged in supporting the arab spring as we should be. it's about to explode. the american disengagement, lack of leadership, leading from behind is leading to uncertainty and doubt on all fronts. >> in rose garden, the president tried to stay above the fray. ignoring the attacks from presidential nominee mitt romney and other top republicans. >> libyan security personnel fought back against attackers alongside americans. libyans helped the diplomats find safety and they carried ambassadorstein's body to the hospital where we tragically learned he had died. >> that vow to work with the libyan government could be undermined by the fact there are reports that after ambassador stephens was moved out of the u.s. consulate to a second building considered more safe, libyan security forces ad tipped the protesters off to his whereabouts. leading to the murders. in addition to unconfirmed reports the ambassador's body may have been dragged through
the streets. u.s. officials are investigating whether a pro-al-qaeda group known as imprisoned alman brigade was involved, especially after the militant website on monday featured a new video from al-qaeda chief ayman al-zawahiri, where he incites militants to avenge killing of the late lieutenant who was libyan by birth. another intriguing twist, ayman al-zawahiri's brother muhammad was seen at monday's protest at the u.s. embassy in cairo. >> president pulls no punches in the "60 minutes" interview saying governor romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. as president one thing i learned you can't do that and you know it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts and you thought through the ramifications before you make them. meanwhile, the president aboard air force one just called some of the families of the victims involved here. he did that on his way to las vegas for previously scheduled campaign event. bret? >> ed henry live on the north
lawn. thank you. let's get more on what happened on the ground in libya and egypt and what may be next. national security correspondent jennifer griffin has that part of the story from the pentagon. >> at the time of the attack, the u.s. military did not have any personnel in benghazi. marines were not tasked guarding the consulate, headquartered in residential come pound, intern facility used since the start of the libyan revolution. attacks were shooting at the main building and set fire to it. ambassador chrissteins, sean smith and a regional security officer were inside an they got separated. smith died of smoke inhalation. the security officer made it out and returned to find the ambassador. at that point the annex was attack and three more embassy personnel were wounded. gun battle lasted two hours. the attack appeared to have been planned. online conversations indicate that smith, information technology specialists reportedly expressed concern that the come pound was under
surveillance. or could be attacked. pentagon sent a team of 50 marines are a naval base in spain to provide additional security. they will remain in tripoli, the capital. the air force will fly those killed and wounded from europe to the u.s. when president obama spoke to state department personnel today all knew stevens there were audible somebodys. stephens spent two years in morocco teaching english and he fell in love with the volatile region. >> in early days of the libyan revolution, i asked chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition. he arrived on a cargo ship in the port of benghazi and began building our relationship with libya's revolutionaries.
he risked his life to stop a tyrant and then gave his life trying to help build a better libya. >> my name is chris stevens and i'm the new u.s. ambassador to libya. >> the u.s. ambassador to the u.s. reacted to the news. >> this is a great loss to lose for us. we lose him before the americans and he is the right man for the right position for the right time. >> elsewhere in the region, palestinian protesters in the gaza strip burned u.s. flags and shouted death to america in response to 15-minute excerpt of anti-islam film that led to alleged protest before the attack in benghazi. >> let me be clear. there is no justification for this. none. >> now we are getting initial reports from cairo, egypt, more violence is occurring outside the embassy. tweet from u.s. embassy officials suggest there is at least one civilian injured
with a head wound. >> bret: jennifer griffin live at the pentagon. thank you. now to the politics. the latest fox news poll released showed obama is more trusted to handle overseas issues. this was before tuesday's events and president gets 54-39% advantage in foreign policy. he and joe biden lead republicans by five points overall in this poll of likely voters. the romney edge turned to five-point deficit in this poll. governor romney's response to the embassy violence which made heavy use of the word "apology" and is getting a fair amount of criticism. chief political correspondent carl cameron. >> at jacksonville, florida, news conference, mitt romney condemned attack on u.s. mission in egypt and libya that killed four u.s. officials clouding the u.s. ambassador.
>> this attack is outrageous, it's disgusting. it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor. >> romney immediately criticized the obama administration for statement issued from the u.s. embassy in egypt that romney said amounted to another apology for americans oversea whence it's miles per hours who were the victims of the attacks. seven times in nine minutes obama referenceed the obama administration apologies for u.s. policy and principles. >> the statements were inappropriate. and my view a disgracement statement on the part of the administration to apologize for american values. the statement that came from the administration was a statement which is akin to apology and i think severe miscalculation. the first response is not to say we stand by the comments
that suggest there is something wrong with the right of free speech. >> romney initial rebuke prompted counterattack not from the obama administration but the obama campaign in chicago. which set in a statement, "we are shocked that at a time when the united states of america is confronting the tragic death of one of our diplomatic officers in libya, governor romney would choose to launch a political attack." reporters grilled romney with questions whether he turned too partisan, too soon. >> do you regret the tone at all given what we know now? >> do you regret having that statement come out so early? >> romney brushed back reporters noting that the white house officials backed away from the u.s. mission in cairo statement and removed it from the internet last night. >> the white house distance itself last night from the statement. saying it wasn't cleared by washington. that reflects the mixed signals they are sending to the world. >> romney is under fire for speaking too soon before all the facts are known. customarily, presidential nominee receive regular, national classified security briefings and right now it's
not happening for mitt romney. they are expected to happen soon but the aides won't say when. >> bret: carl cameron traveling with the governor. thank you. joining us now to discuss this entire situation is elliott aberam. and michael flankings. welcome, gentlemen. first, talk about the situation and what strikes you about the attacks? michael, you first. benghazi, and egypt. benghazi, the attack that led to the ambassador's death. >> i join everyone being sad about the loss for the united states and the dedicated servants abroad who do so much for our security. in a way i'm surprised it took this long. there has been so much unrest and i hope there is an ability to prevent anything happening tonight or tomorrow or the next few days when the things are delegate. things have been delicate for a year-and-a-half. this is an amazingly sweeping
set of changes throughout the broader middle east. not to say everything was done correctly in benghazi. i don't know that. not to say anything else about procedures that were followed. but in a way i'm struck that it took this long for something of a tragic nature to happen given what is going on. >> bret: the new libyan government stepped up. they had many statements out today. not only the ambassador that you saw there, but a paper statement and a number of officials out. the egyptian government hasn't said much at all. muslim brotherhood calls for more demonstrations. >> it's unacceptable. the new president of egypt said nothing. 24 hours since the attack on our embassy. nothing. you have to remember two weeks ago they put on trial the people last year who sacked and looted the israeli embassy in cairo and gave them suspended sentences. the message is not a double message. it's that this seems to be okay. they are the ones responsible for protecting the embassy.
it's the police and the egyptian army. where were they? >> bret: we talked when the arab spring started about the possibility this goes place to place. you look at the tension with israel and iran. you look at the situation in syria and what is developing here. is there a potential this suddenly spirals? >> i think there is. particularly on the embassy problem. people who wish us ill in one place so it's critically important that right now if one of the governments steps up to protect our embassy and prevent this. i would like to know planning on the u.s. government. we knew 9/11 was coming and we knew about the film. outly the bucks stops with the governments and they need to step up and protect our people. >> elliott makes a great point. specific issue of safety of
the embassies and the places that westerners are known to gather or associate businesses with a high western component for example are the places i would worry most. with a ripple effect. we are far enough in to this that breathlessness and con stay john from early 2011 is over at a broad scale. but at a specific level of activity, storming embassies, protesting in capital cities could pick up. >> bret: this video supposedly was the pretext. but the intelligence officials are now saying this attack in benghazi was organized and looked like al-qaeda coordinated attack with waves of attacks. is this possible it was 9/11, not the video but more about 9/11? >> that is right. this is an organized terrorist attack. a couple dozen cars, 40 or 50 people armed with mortars.
there is nothing about this that suggests a protest. this is a terrorist attack on the u.s. embassy. >> the video is disgusting. i do not join in those who say free speech somehow condones this. i didn't really hear anything say that in the american debate, but i want to be clear. however, i agree with elliott there was a group waiting for an opportunity, whether it was 9/11, whether it was the video, what have you, they saw in their interest attacking the american presence in libya. that should be no great surprise given that al-qaeda has had a presence in libya. a lot of libyans fought in iraq for al-qaeda and iraq. this is an area we have to worry about building up the strong libyan institution despite the tragedy, because the opportunity is see al-qaeda have a foothold for long time to come. >> bret: michael, elliott, thank you very much. i know the discussion will continue and we'll have you back. >> thank you. >> bret: that brings us to tonight's text to vote question. how important is foreign policy to your vote this
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>> bret: the president of chicago teachers union says sent meters of progress -- centimeters of progress are being made but they're kilometers apart. this is the third day of the strike in the third largest city. union leaders spent today reviewing a new offer from the school board. germany's high court has cleared the way for the government to participate many a european rescue fund that led to early gapes on wall street. the dow and nasdaq finished step ahead. s&p 500 was up three. if you think taxes here are high, wait until you see this next story from senior foreign affairs correspondent amy kellogg. she tells us the french making a lot of money are going to owe a lot more to the government. >> french will soon be taxed at a rate of 75% on income over 1 million euros or just over $1.25 million. many economists say the rich tax won't do much to boost depressed state coughers because only 3,000 of france's 66 million citizens make over
$1 million. frankly, the move is symbolic. in fact, the campaign promise many believe won the election for the president who said he doesn't like the rich. this auto worker says he thinks the rich should pay for everyone now because they caused a crisis, he says, not us. >> it's a good idea. if you have money, you can save taxes. >> we could not, however, convince anyone from the socialist party to discuss the few tax with us. possibly because opposition lawmakers say the tax has sent a signal to the rich and the aspirational. >> if you want to be entrepreneur, if you want to work very hard, then go away. >> at the height of the controversy surrounding the new super tax, it emerged that france's wealthiest man, founder of the luxury goods empire applied for belgian citizenship. ar nashud denies this is a tax dodge but the move prompted comments such as treachery.
they advise the wealthy on tax matters a calls the new tax the end of democracy. >> it's an insult. they are good taxpayers. they are taxpayers. they have company, businesses, they are working hard. the context is difficult. they are not the source of the crisis. >> french tax code is extremely complex and the rich already pay 50% of the salary in various levies. pretty much everyone's tax in france is about to go up. but those hit with the biggest increase are asking why the government can't simply spend less rather than taxing the citizens more. in paris, amy kellogg, fox news. >> bret: a big oops during the final night of the democratic convention. the ships in the background during a tribute to veterans were not american ships. they actually belong to the russian navy. today, democrats apologized. blaming a vendor for the video
error. the russian warships many of soviet era origin shown on a giant screen above 50 veterans while retired at miller honored veterans' contribution to america. don't forget tonight's tex to vote question. how important is foreign policy to your vote? text sr1 to 36288 for very important. sr2 for somewhat important. or sr3 for not important. results shortly. up next, president obama reaches out and touches an important ally. begin. tomato, obviously. haha. there's more than that though, there's a kick to it. wahlalalalallala! smooth, but crisp. it's kind of like drinking a food that's a drink, or a drink that's a food, woooooh! [ male announcer ] taste it and describe the indescribable. could've had a v8. dad, we want pizza. you guys said tacos. [ female announcer ] it doesn't always work out that way. you know what? we're spending too much money on eating out anyway. honey, come look at this. [ female announcer ] my money map from wells fargo
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hour-long chat. a consolation prize of sorts for the prime minister, who had requested a face-to-face meeting with mr. obama over their differences op iran's nuclear program. according to israelis, the white house said the president didn't have time in his schedule when netanyahu was in the states later this month. the white house denies there was ever a request for a meeting. the perceived snub is the latest in a growing divide between the two leaders over a threatened attack on iran. netanyahu wants the president to declare so-called red lines. what iranian actions would bring about a strike. mr. become ba obama said sanctil need time to work. in the past month, netanyahu increased the rhetoric on iran. israel is running out of time before its limited long-range bombing capabilities would make a unilateral strike in effective. the issue is now a battle line in the presidential race with mr. obama holding his ground on preventing an attack,
courting the powerful pro-israel lobby and governor romney trying to score points in florida where jewish voters could decide the election. >> i can't ever imagine the prime minister of israel asked to meet with me, i can't manual ever saying no. we're friends, closest allies in the middle east. >> reporter: experts fear the latest spat could go from war of words to actual war with the prime minister isolated and insulted he may be more willing to launch an attack rather than deal with a possible second term obama administration less concerned with diplomatic niceties and maybe not available for a late-night phone chat. much less a face to face meeting. bret? >> bret: leland vittert in the middle east bureau. thank you. we will look at the murder of the american ambassador in libya and three others and what that says about the u.s. support of the arab spring. the fox all-stars join me, when we return. we asked over 3,000 doctors to review 5-hour energy
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the united states condemns in strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. we're working with the government of libya to secure the diplomats, i've directed my administration to increase our security at embassies around the world. >> this attack on american embassies is outrageous, it's gisting. it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom. and justice. and honor. >> the attack in benghazi, libya, the ambassador there chrissteins dead, three others -- left chris stevens dead, three others dead. led to the attack, scaling the wall at the embassy in cairo, egypt, did not lead to deaths or people being injured. in libya, there is a response already. pentagon sent a quick reaction
force, fast team of 50 marines from the naval base in spain to provide additional security if tripoli to the embassy. not the consulate in benghazi. we have just learned that two navy destroyer thes the uss mcfall and the uss laboon will be moved off the coast of libya for contingency purposes. with that, we're going to talk about policy now. we'll talk about politics in the second panel. bring in the panel. steve hayes, senior writer for the "weekly standard." mara liasson, national political correspondent of national public radio. syndicated columnist charles krauthammer. two different events, charles. while the protection was this video, the anti-islam video, it did happen on 9/11. now intelligence officials say the benghazi attack was very coordinate and possibly tied to al-qaeda in some way. >> clearly, the video was a pretext, it was irrelevancy.
the difference between the two events is number one the libya attack was clearly a terror attack, coordinated, sophisticated with perhaps an illustration attached as a diversion. in cairo, it was a mob. again, jihaddists. but obviously, it wasn't a terror attack. secondly, libya doesn't have a government. egypt does. that is a big difference. which is why we're sending our marines in to libya. we can't rely on any government. it doesn't exist. i think we ought to beef up the presidency in cairo, whether the government or not with the marines but the onus of protection ought to be on the government in cairo. that is where i think the focus has to be. this is a government that an allyed government, elected government but it is led by muslim brotherhood member. who is clearly not friendly to the united states. he has been in tehran. we have to make it clear that this cannot be tolerated.
the brotherhood is called for a demonstration, after prayers on friday. i think it those be incumbent on the president to impress on egyptians if anything happens, this entire relationship, including the billion dollars of forgiveness of debt we had been discussing is off the table. it's time to be really tough and to draw redlines here in egypt. because otherwise, there will be no way we can sustain either our presence there, or our relationship. >> bret: two very different situations. as charles mentions about the government, egypt, the response has been -- >> silence. >> bret: nothing. >> nothing. they get tremendous amount of military aid. not just debt forgiveness. that is a country that we had high hopes even after the arab spring. after our former ally, dictatorship of hosni mubarak left, that they would be stable and continue to be our friend. if the new government isn't willing to control the anti-miles per hour elmets, that really raises a lot of
questions. these are the kind of things that people talked about at the beginning of the arab spring transformation, what was going to happen when the islamist group came to power. would they be anti-american? what would happen? it took a wile for something like this to start bubbling up. this raises a lot of questions. you know, is the embassy safe? what about the future? >> bret: unless i missed it, did the president talk about egypt? >> no. >> bret: i didn't hear text -- >> only about benghazi. >> only about libya. >> i have a slight difference from charles on the video. i think the video was actually a trigger more than irrelevancy. this was an information operation. it was a planned event in cairo on the streets. and the real question i think one of the key questions going forward is going to be what did the egyptian government have to do with this if anything? there is a mystery about why the walls were breached in cairo. why did to egyptian security services melt away? this hasn't happened before. there are daily protests there and the egyptian security
services more or less done their job. they didn't do it yesterday. why didn't they do it? taking a bigger step back and looking at the scene in egypt. some of this we could have anticipated. when you have the president of egypt, the newly sworn in president of egypt, mohammed morsi, in his inaugural address requesting that the united states return the blind sheikh behind the world trade center attacks. >> in '93. >> bret: and the obama administration downplaying and dismissing that rather than confronting him about the attacks. it was a mistake not to do that at the time. we should have signaled strength at the time. the response was one to, you know, we don't want to make this a big deal. let it go. >> bret: we're going to talk about the politics of this statement from cairo embassy and what mitt romney said about it. but charles, what about that thought? you talked about it yesterday, about the initial -- we reported it on the show. the initial statement from the embassy, and then the fall-out
fro it. >> initial statement was a disgrace at the time, it remains a disgrace at the time. there were other events, of course, in libya, which have cast shadow over that. they superseded it in the sense because of the death, the tra dick death of a wonderful publi -- the tragic d. this is a distinction that speaks op behalf of the united states on soil of egypt and apologize, instead of standing up and saying we are a free country and we say what we want. we don't bliss the internet and the speech. i think that video was complete irrelevancy. what is relevant here is the date. the movie wasn't made yesterday. it didn't arrive on the scene. the date was 9/11. it was a message from jihadnist egypt and libya, that al-qaeda is alive and we can attack you and we will.
this is the # 9/11/12 attack. >> it has everything to do with the date. that is the reason for the attack. i'm saying the video was used to get people to show up at the embassy. that is how you get 1 ,500 people there. you have information operation and say we know we can instigate these jihaddists selling them a bogus story about a stupid video in the united states. in that sense it's not irrelevant. >> bret: i want to finish this segment remembering this is about four people who died, one of them a u.s. ambassador. secretary clinton talked about chris stevens. republicans and democrats respected him. he was well respected in the diplomatic corps. there was a video posted on youtube where he talks about his experience. it's very chilling today. take a listen. >> in the early days of the libyan re-lution, i asked chris to -- libyan revolution i asked chris to be our envoy to the rebel opposition.
he risked his life to stop a tyrant and then gave his life trying to help build a better libya. the world needs more chris stevens. >> i spent almost my entire career in the middle east in north africa. one of the things that impressed me when i was last in libya was listening to stories from the people who are old enough to travelled and studie studied in the united states. back when we had closer relations. those days are back. >> bret: politics aside, this guy traveled with the rebels, to benghazi, a place where he died. >> yeah, look, what he just talked about is when he said those days are back. what happened today doesn't mean that that is not true. this was an attack not by the government of libya or the, you know, that millions of people marching in the streets. this is some, maybe al-qaeda affiliated, we don't know, as hillary clinton called them a small and savage group of people. but that guy is exactly what you -- who you want to have representing america in these countries.
>> bret: next up, the politics of all of this. and how this may affect the presidential race. i was in an accident. i lost my hands, my feet. shriners did a lot more than just heal me. they helped me put my whole life back together. (vo) send your love to the rescue. (vo) donate to shriners hospitals today.
simply put, having an embassy which has been breached and has protesters on its grounds, violated the sovereignty of the united states, having that embassy reiterate a statement, effectively apologizing for the right of free speech is not the right course for an administration. >> governor romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. as president, one of the thing us've learned is you can't do that. you know, it's important for you to make sure that the statements that you make are backed up by the facts. and that you have thought through the ramifications before you make them. >> bret: this is all about the state fire department the cairo embassy that came out early -- statement from the cairo embassy that came out early yesterday morning that said the embassy condemns the continuing effort by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of muslims. didn't talk about the upcoming protest that was expected. it reiterated that, saying it stock by the statement later in the day men the protests were happening and when they scaled the wall and took down the american flag shortly thereafter. now the romney campaign put
out a statement about the attacks, about the loss of life in libya and it continueed disgraceful that the obama administration first response was not to condemn the attacks on our diplomatic missions but to similar not these with those who -- sympathize with those who waged the attacks. how does this play as you hear the back and forth? we're back with the panel. steve? >> i think on the substance mitt romney's cri tier is the right critique. the president did send mixed signals. the administration from the first tweet from the embassy in egypt did lead with an apology. even subsequent statements by hillary clinton where she added in denunciation of the violence led with what wastantment to an apology. on the substance, good case. on the timing would i have done the press conference, i probably wouldn't have, but it has much more to do with the fact that you knew the media were going to obsess on this and obsess on it they did. they are so now fascinated by
this process, using the process story the beat up mitt romney rather than taking a step back and looking at the bigger picture question about the policies. you have in effect what we're witnessing is perhaps a partial collapse of the obama doctrine. the leading from behind manifesto that governed the way the administration conducted foreign policy over the past three-and-a-half years. all we heard about all day today was the media and whether or not romney should have put out a statement. >> bret: the administration did disavow the cairo embassy original statement. 16 hours later. >> but then they repeated the same sentiment today. the president and hillary clinton in the rose garden. >> bret: i understand. but ticktock on how it happened. >> they said in a quote to politico they seemed to disavow it. >> bret: and abc news. >> later the embassy retweeted the same thing saying we are not going to apologize even if tem basssy is breached we still believe in, you know, speak out against bigotry. >> bret: that in and of
itself is confusing. >> yes. the problem is if mitt romney wants to make an argument against the way the president has handleed the arab spring, he needs to make it. he wasn't making it today and he focused on the statement. if that is it, the subtotal of the charge against the obama administration i don't know where it will go. risky if you inject yourself in fast-moving foreign crisis, learned this through the chinese dissident story he got involved and then the next thing you know he was criticizing the administration, not getting the guy out and he gets the guy out. i think that it has to be thought through and make the argument and make them in a concerted way over time. if this is just a one-day thing where he swipes at obama and goes back to economy i don't know how it helps him. >> bret: charles? >> i agree st. substance of what romney said was absolutely right. the problem he needs to make a larger argument. there is a collapse of obama
policy. it began with the cairo speech and policy to iran and regret for the iraq war. it began with the so-called outreach. it's completely collapsed. it has gotp nowhere on iran. these are the fruit of appeasement an apology. he should make a general speech, not attack here and there but a speech explaining and connecting all the dots. that's what a candidate ought to do. to lead attacks to surrogates and to ryan. >> bret: much more to talk about with the politics of all this and we want to go through all the polls as well. that's why we have an online show on wednesdays and it follows this program. that's it for panel. stave tuned for something lighter. [ clock ticking ] [ male announcer ] there's a better way... v8 v-fusion. vegetable nutrition they need, fruit taste they love. could've had a v8... the economy needs manufacturing. mhines, tools, people making stuff.
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>> bret: we asked you tonight how important is foreign policy to your vote this november. 80 percent said very important. 15 percent said somewhat important. 5 percent percent said not impo. we had almost 5,000 votes tonight. when you report onair you have to be ready for almost anything. sometimes sports reporters are actually never seen on camera. they are heard from the dugout or bullpen but sometimes they are seen. >> that's a busy travel schedule for simmons. mississippi yesterday, atlanta today, rome and in lynchberg owe-oh, sorry, tom. >> talking to me? [ laughter ]