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Yes, It Was an Apology Tour

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.

Sorry, fact checkers at Associated Press: you are wrong about Barack Obama’s claim that Mitt Romney’s accusation that Obama went on an “apology tour” was a “whopper” (of a lie).


You sniffed, “Romney has repeatedly and wrongly accused the president of traveling the world early in his presidency and apologizing for U.S. behavior. Obama didn’t say ‘sorry’ in those travels.”

An “Apology Tour” does not mean Obama had to literally say the word "sorry" during those visits. But as my Guide Book on Obama’s 2009 Cairo speech details, on numerous stops Obama said things like America “has shown arrogance” (Strasbourg, France), "we have not been perfect" (interview with Al Arabiya), "we have at times been disengaged, and at times we sought to dictate our terms" (Port of Spain), we have been “dictating solutions” (London), “went off course” (National Archives), “made some mistakes,” (Langley, Virginia) and, finally, "the United States is still working through some of our own darker periods in our history" (Ankara, Turkey).

The historical errors in favor of Islam in the Cairo Speech are legion, as are the not-so-veiled digs at his predecessor, for the "war of choice" in Iraq. As historian Brian Birdnow and I noted in our book (as did many historians and columnists immediately after the speech), Obama pandered to the Muslim world by falsely giving them credit for everything from the printing press to religious tolerance.

On Monday night, President Obama even claimed that the Muslim world has a positive view of the U.S. as a result of his leadership.

Not true, according to a Pew poll, noted the Daily Caller. We had noted that as well in the Dissident Prof Guide Book on the Cairo Speech, “A New Beginning, Or a Revised Past? Positive views among the Muslim world slipped from 22 percent in 2008 to 19 percent last June, according to the (liberal) Pew poll. We thought students, who are taught this speech in college English classes as an example of rhetorical brilliance and unalloyed diplomatic victory, should know such facts and the context of other presidential speeches.


The events that have unfolded since the speech was printed in the Norton Reader have not gone the way the editors predicted. The declaration of “A New Beginning” did not make it so. The burning of the U.S. flag in protests around the world in recent weeks strongly suggests that opinions have slipped even more.

Romney explained why he called it an “apology tour”: “Mr. President, the reason I call it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East and you flew to Egypt and to Saudi Arabia and to Turkey and Iraq. And by the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations.”

Obama then responded that Romney seemed to forget his visit to Israel as a presidential candidate. Well, that is certainly significant. I wanted to jump in and give Romney a little nudge. He should have said, “Come on, what does that say, Mr. President, when you visit Israel as a candidate and not as President?” (But, Mr. Romney, you can use this now.)

Obama even refused Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s request for a meeting while both were in New York City last month. Obama did have time, though, to sit for numerous talk shows and give a speech at the UN falsely castigating a film trailer for the attack on Benghazi that killed four Americans.

One sensed that Romney’s accusations hit home and that is why Obama tapped into his inner Alinsky (as in Saul Alinsky) when he resorted to sarcasm in response to Romney's citing the reduction in military spending and specifically in the number of Navy ships.


In response to what Roll Callcalled Romney's "complaint," the Community Organizer said, "I think Gov. Romney maybe hasn't spent enough time looking at how our military works."

Obama continued, "Well, Governor we also have fewer horses and bayonets because the nature of our military's changed. We have these things called aircraft carriers, where planes land on them. We have these ships that go underwater, nuclear submarines. So the question is not a game of Battleship, where we're counting ships. It's what are our capabilities." (Talk about lowering presidential discourse!)

I believe that Romney was addressing "capabilities," indeed, and citing specifics as he was doing so.

I was disappointed by Romney’s agreeing to the 2014 deadline for withdrawing troops from Afghanistan and for not hitting harder on Benghazi. I know many fellow conservatives were too. But when you’re dealing with the wily Chicago gang, you have to be careful lest they decide to bomb Libya as a last-minute election strategy and then paint you in a corner.

One also has to be careful about references to “fact checkers,” as Obama did in relation to the “apology tour.” He said, “Every fact checker and every reporter who’s looked at it, Governor, has said this is not true.”

Perhaps Obama meant to say every liberal fact checker, for it is liberals who have anointed themselves with the Orwellian titles of “fact checkers” and “truth teams.”

Obama, in apologizing for the United States, was following the disturbing trend of apologizing for others’ perceived sins. Leaders of companies, universities, states, and nations are all too quick these days to apologize for the sins of their predecessors.


But what about one’s own actions? Will President Obama apologize for those? He has lied and shirked blame on a video. Our arrogant, golf-obsessed president could not even be bothered with in-person security briefings.

We have four Americans dead, and for the first time since the presidency of Jimmy Carter, an ambassador murdered by terrorists.

But even Jimmy Carter would not have gone to a Las Vegas fundraiser the next day, as Obama did.

Now all that’s something to apologize for.

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