Obama slams Romney over criticism on Mideast attacks

Reuters News

9/12/2012 4:48:02 PM - Reuters News

ABOARD AIR FORCE ONE (Reuters) - President Barack Obama on Wednesday accused Mitt Romney of having a tendency "to shoot first and aim later" in response to the Republican candidate's criticism of the White House for its handling of violent attacks on U.S. diplomatic compounds in Libya and Egypt.

Obama, in advance excerpts of a "60 Minutes" television interview released by the White House as the president headed for Nevada, said that while most Republicans had reacted responsibly, "Governor Romney didn't have his facts right."

The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three embassy staff were killed in an attack on the Benghazi consulate and a safe house refuge, stormed by Islamist gunmen blaming the United States for a film they said insulted the Prophet Mohammad. Another assault was mounted on the U.S. Embassy in Cairo.

Romney earlier on Wednesday stood by his criticism of the White House for a statement issued by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemning a film about the Prophet Mohammad.

But Obama defended the embassy's action while making clear he was not involved in the decision.

"It came from folks on the ground who are potentially in danger," he said in the interview. "And my tendency is to cut folks a little bit of slack when they're in that circumstance rather than try to question their judgment from the comfort of a campaign office."

"There is a broader lesson to be learned here and Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later," Obama said.

Romney has accused Obama of weakening America's position in the world by apologizing for U.S. actions, and says the president has not upheld American values.

(Reporting By Andy Sullivan, writing by Matt Spetalnick; editing by Doina Chiacu)