Martin Bashir | September 14, 2012
>>> the romney campaign which began with a premature attack on the president continues to blame him for the protests that are now spreading. while american embassies are threatened overseas, romney 's advisers tell "the washington post " none of this would be happening under a romney presidency. quote, there's a pretty compelling story that if you had a president romney , you'd be in a different situation. that's a distasteful remark, even for an opportunist campaign like mr. romney 's, but one that's technically probably correct because it likely would be a much worse situation, after all, this is the man that refuses to admit his initial statements on tuesday's embassy attacks was an ill informed rush to judgment. indeed, he just keeps digging.
>> where is the sympathy for the attacks done after the attacks happened?
>> the statement stayed on the website for 14, 15 hours.
>> what were they supposed to do, mr. romney , tell the attackers hold on, we just have to update our web page ? conservative media have done their best to help mr. romney lower himself further. thankfully there are republicans like john mccain that know that you may disagree with the president on policy, but you can still stay on the side of the facts.
>> we apologize to them? i am trying to understand this, senator.
>> well, i am not sure there was an apology.
>> they want sharia law implemented now in egypt.
>> first of all, that's not clear that's true.
>> so you were wrong about libya.
>> i don't think i was wrong about libya.
>> i know you were.
>> i was not.
>> they had a free and fair election and democratic, nonislamic government was elected, so you're wrong.
>> joining us in washington, karen finney, msnbc political analyst , and from philadelphia, julian epstein, a democratic strategist. good day to both of you. julian , are we to seriously believe none of this would be happening, none of it, if mitt romney were the president?
>> sure, let's look back at what happened under the bush administration where we had about five times as many attacks on embassies when george bush was president and had policies that mitt romney supported. look, i think that this story is going to move from condemnation of mitt romney to ridicule. the cartoon character that starts to come to mind is yosemite sam . i think the reason that so many republicans are criticizing romney right now is one that there has been a long-standing tradition of stopping at the water's edge when the country is attacked, when embassies are attacked and secondly, what the administration has done is to condemn religious in tolerance saying terrorists will pay a swift price. it is enormously hurtful to mitt romney , we will move into ridicule soon.
>> there are protesters in cairo, we have live pictures from cairo in egypt there. things appear to be calmer and president morsi who was spoke tone by the president has taken heed and security forces are in place, you can see in large numbers. karen , why aren't many like mccain willing to refute trumped up charges that romney and his supporters perpetuate? this may be doing long term damage to their party.
>> well, and it may be frankly doing some long term damage to america's standing in the middle east . these words have consequences. technically, we know a lot of these guys are crazy from the outside, they look at these guys and say these are duly elected leaders in your country saying these things. that's the other piece of things in terms of how irresponsible some of that is. i think they see a political opportunity here and they're going for it. one of the strongest, you know, advantages that president obama has had throughout this campaign has been foreign policy , and the other thing is i think they're trying to deflect from the fact that part of the problem, part of the reason we have the relationship and some of the tensions that exist are because of the war, preemptive war , war of choice by president bush in iraq and then afghanistan and that's part of what president obama has actually been trying to, you know, in addition to getting us out of the wars, undo some of that damage. that's not a conversation they want to have. i find it talk about the sabre rattling, noecons going into iran, if we did that, it would be a similar situation, american forces on the ground, american resources not spent at home. it could be morsi we have seen on television now or as we saw with american loss of life coming home . there's a responsible element to this as well.
>> you say that. julian , all i hear from people like paul ryan and the other expert on foreign policy , sarah palin , is that this president's affect has been one of weakness, and yet we've seen multiple dictators fall, and certainly american relationships with other nations improve. i don't understand what they want him to do. invade? what do they want him to do?
>> that's the curious question. i agree with karen 's point, these things are very harmful to the national interest , particularly when attached. to your question, martin, challenging president obama on foreign policy is like challenging michael phelps to a 200 meter race in the olympics. this is a guy who has one, taken out osama bin laden , taken out more of the al qaeda leadership in the last three years than was taken out in the previous eight years. a guy who oversaw and master minded , that is president obama , the fall of gadhafi, a guy ended two wars, a remarkable string of foreign policy successes, and according to every poll flipped what had been a traditional democratic disadvantage on foreign policy to a foreign policy advantage. so it is very curious to me why the romney campaign would be doing something that not only hurts national security i think as karen pointed out but seems to be politically very maladept at the same time.
>> quickly, karen .
>> i think they're making a miscalculation this is a quick political hit they can make on the surface. it is more complicated because of domestic and political issues in each of the countries.