Weekly Standard editor and top neocon Bill Kristol hasn’t been afraid to criticize party nominee Mitt Romney in the past, but today he’s on his side. Kristol not only approved of Romney’s statement claiming President Obama “sympathized” with the rioters who attacked U.S. diplomats in Egypt and Libya, but also claimed “the events of September 11, 2012″ (carefully not stating the 9/11 anniversary outright) was an ideal time to go after Obama’s purported “weakness” on foreign policy. Kristol, writing on the Standard’s blog, said:
One can question the timing and tone of Mitt Romney’s statement last night. One can note he wasn’t as fluent and clear as he might have been at his press conference this morning. Still, the fact remains that the events of September 11, 2012, represent a big moment for the country. Romney is right to sense this, and to seize on this moment as an occasion to explain the difference between his foreign policy and President Obama’s. He’s right to reject the counsel of the mainstream media, which is to keep quiet and give President Obama a pass.
Kristol went on to say that “Romney is right to bring home the weakness of the Obama administration, exemplified in the disgraceful statement issued yesterday, September 11, by the American embassy in Cairo.”
It’s unclear why Kristol had to repeatedly write “September 11,” when referring to what happened yesterday in Egypt and Libya, but his criticism was echoed by prominent Republican columnist Byron York, who wrote that “Romney was, and is, right. As events in Benghazi and Cairo unfolded, the Obama administration’s first instinct was to apologize for any offense Muslims might have taken.”
The release Kristol and York are referring to came from the U.S. Embassy in Cairo while it was under threat but before violence started; the official Obama Administration statement after the assaults quoted the President saying “we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.” While Romney accused Obama of “sympathiz[ing] with those who waged the attacks” as a consequence of the embassy’s criticism of the anti-Islam film that may have played a role in instigating the violence, Romney himself condemned an anti-Islam provocation in 2010, saying “Burning the Quran is wrong on every level. It puts troops in danger, and it violates a founding principle of our republic.”
Editor’s note: This post has been updated to reflect that fact that Kristol did not specifically refer to the actual anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks