Two weeks after sharply criticizing the Obama administration for its handling of the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya, Mitt Romney said Friday that it was "premature" to cast judgment on how his Democratic rival handled the developments in Libya and said he would wait for the results of an investigation.
It was a clear tonal shift on the part of the Republican presidential nominee.
As the attacks on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were unfolding earlier this month, Romney released a late-night statement taking issue with a statement from U.S. diplomats in Cairo. Romney's release went out before he knew that the attacks in Libya had taken the lives of the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The U.S. diplomats in Cairo had taken issue with an anti-Islamic video posted on YouTube, stating that the embassy opposed "continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."
Romney had pinned those comments on President Obama, arguing that the president's administration was making an "apology for America's values." The president charged Romney with politicizing a tragedy; and even some of Romney's own Republican colleagues took issue with what he had said.
Romney was much more measured during an impromptu news conference Friday on his plane as he traveled from a campaign rally in Wayne, Pa. — his first in the Keystone State since the summer — to Boston, where he plans to spend the weekend preparing for his first debate with Obama, which is Wednesday at the University of Denver.
Though Romney's Republican colleagues have accused the Obama administration of obscuring details about the security situation in Libya and whether U.S. officials could have done more to prevent what is now believed to have been a terrorist attack there, Romney said he would wait to see the results of the investigation that has been suggested by Sen. John F. Kerry (D-Mass.).
"I think with the investigation ongoing it would be premature to describe precisely what the administration did correctly or incorrectly," Romney told reporters on the plane. "There are a wide array of reports about warnings, and whether they were heeded — we'll find out whether that was the case or that was not the case."
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