Posted: Sep 12, 2012 9:07 AM by CBS News
Updated: Sep 12, 2012 9:10 AM
In a press conference Wednesday addressing the recent violence in Egypt and Libya, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney doubled down on his criticism of how the Obama administration handled the situation, calling its response a "terrible course" and arguing that the White House standing "in apology for our values."
Romney was peppered with questions about putting out a statement criticizing the president late last night -- on September 11 -- in connection with the violence. After he released the statement, it became known that four Americans were killed after an assault at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi in response to the production of an amatuer anti-Islam film.
Speaking at a brief media availability in Florida Wednesday morning, Romney lambasted the White House for a statement from the Egyptian embassy that condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions."
Romney acknowledged that "the White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn't cleared by Washington" and that the White House had strongly condemned the attacks. But he argued that because the embassy statement was released the administration is sending "mixed signals" to the world.
"The attacks in Libya and Egypt underscore that the world remains a dangerous place and that American leadership is still sorely needed," he said. "In the face of this violence, American cannot shrink from the responsibility to lead. American leadership is necessary to ensure that events in the region don't spin out of control. We cannot hesitate to use our influence in the region to support those who share our values and our interests."