The following is a transcript of presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s remarks to the press on the Libya and Cairo embassy attacks:
Good morning. Americans woke up this morning with - with tragic news and felt heavy hearts as they considered that individuals who have served in our diplomatic corps were brutally murdered across the world.
This attack on American individuals and embassies is outrageous, it’s disgusting, it - it breaks the hearts of all of us who think of these people who have served during their lives the cause of freedom and justice and honor.
We - we mourn their loss and join together in prayer that the spirit of the Almighty might comfort the families of those who have been so brutally slain.
Four diplomats lost their life, including the U.S. ambassador, J. Christopher Stevens, in the attack on our embassy at Benghazi, Libya. And of course with these words I extend my condolences to the grieving loved ones who have left behind, as a result of these who have lost their lives in the service of our nation. And I know that the people across America are grateful for their service. And we mourn their sacrifice.
America will not tolerate attacks against our citizens and against our embassies. We’ll defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion. We have confidence in our cause in America. We respect our Constitution. We stand for the principles our Constitution protects. We encourage other nations to understand and respect the principles of our Constitution, because we recognize that these principles are the ultimate source of freedom for individuals around the world.
I also believe the administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt, instead of condemning their actions. It’s never too early for the United States government to condemn attacks on Americans and to defend our values.
The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn’t cleared by Washington. That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending 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. 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.
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And now... to put Gov. Romney's comments in proper perspective... here's the official Obama/Clinton State Department condemnation of certain American private citizens which was issued prior to the violent Cairo rioting and subsequent attack upon the U.S. Embassy in Cairo (where our flag was taken down, burned, and replaced with the flag of al Qaeda) and the murders of the American Ambassador to Libya and three other American diplomats and the destruction of our consulate in Banghazi, Libya:
The Embassy of the United States in Cairo condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims – as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions. Today, the 11th anniversary of the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, Americans are honoring our patriots and those who serve our nation as the fitting response to the enemies of democracy. Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy. We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.