GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney lost no time in slamming President Barack Obama for failing to quickly and decisively condemn radical Islamist attacks on American embassies Tuesday.
"I'm outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt, and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi,” Romney said in a statement released Tuesday night.
The statement was made prior to the public identification of the casualty -- the recently-appointed U.S. Ambassador to Libya himself, Christopher Stevens.
The ambassador had raced to the consulate Tuesday night, together with top Libyan security officials to try and help evacuate his besieged staff, who were trapped in the building by Muslim extremists. Thousands had gathered and were firing gunshots and rocket-propelled grenades (RPGs).
In Egypt, rioters also attacked the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, scaling its walls and ripping down the American flag, which they tore into pieces and attempted to burn. The flag was replaced by a black one bearing Arabic writing.
Prior to the attack, the U.S. Embassy in Cairo condemned the film, referring to the “continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.”
Tuesday night, Romney slammed the lack of a clear statement from the White House: "It's disgraceful that the Obama Administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks,” he said.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, however, firmly condemned the violence on Tuesday. “I condemn in the strongest terms the attack on our mission in Benghazi today,” she said. “Some have sought to justify this vicious behavior as a response to inflammatory material posted on the Internet. The United States deplores any intentional effort to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. Our commitment to religious tolerance goes back to the very beginning of our nation. But let me be clear: There is never any justification for violent acts of this kind.”