On Wednesday Sept 12th, perhaps realizing that he had stepped in it but unwilling to back down or apologize, Romoney choose instead to double down on his earlier attack by giving a press conference to clarify his initial press release accusing Obama of sympathizing with the attackers.:
"...the administration was wrong to standby a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions. its 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 are sending to the world."The full transcript of the event shows that he never used the words “terror”, “terrorism”, or “al-Qaeda”."[/i]
About 30 minutes later in the WH Rose Garden, at a press conference that had already been scheduled for the President to talk about the attacks on the various American Embassies and Consulates in the Mideast the day before and to announce the deaths of the Libyan Ambassador and three other Embassy personnel, President Obama said:
"...And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi. As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe. No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."The next day, Sept 13th, President Obama spoke in Golden, Colorado, and said this:
"Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week -- we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. ...So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."Later that same day, Sept 13th, speaking at a campaign event in Las Vegas, Nevada, President Obama reiterated the message:
"So I wanted to begin tonight by just saying a few words about a tough day that we had today. We lost four Americans last night, who were killed when they were attacked at a diplomatic post in Libya. And they were serving overseas on our behalf, despite the dangers, despite the risks, to help one of the world’s youngest democracies get on its feet. They were working to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans. And as Americans, we stand united -– all of us -– in gratitude for their service, and we are mindful of their sacrifice, and we want to send out heartfelt prayers to their loved ones who grieve today. It’s a reminder that the freedoms we enjoy -– sometimes even the freedoms we take for granted -– they’re only sustained because there are people like those who were killed, who are willing to stand up for those freedoms; who are willing to fight for those freedoms; in some cases, to lay down their lives for those freedoms. So tonight, let’s think of them and thank them. As for the ones we lost last night: I want to assure you, we will bring their killers to justice. And we want to send a message all around the world -- anybody who would do us harm: No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America."
Meanwhile, the first time the Romney campaign made an unmistakeable reference to terrorism in relation to the Benghazi attack came on September 20, after US top counterterrorism officials had already publicly described the attacks as terrorism. Romoney's first statement clearly linking the Benghazi attack to 'terrorism' was on September 25, two weeks after the attack, when he said on Fox News that the Benghazi attack was:
“an act of terror. … But the White House doesn’t want to admit it.”
The Romoney campaign's insistence that Obama administration officials wanted to call the attack a result of a spontaneous riot over the movie and not an organized assault by a terrorist group is also false and a deliberate lie. Administration officials were telling reporters as soon as Sept 12th, the day after the attack, and in the days following, that either of two groups of radical Islamic militants were probably involved in the attack. Here are some of the internationally published news reports from the time.
Libya attack: Obama vows justice for killed US envoy.
12 September 2012
President Barack Obama has vowed to bring to justice those who carried out the attack that killed the US ambassador to Libya. Ambassador J Christopher Stevens died after gunmen stormed the consulate amid protests over an anti-Islamic film. US officials said Washington was investigating whether the attack was organised in advance, rather than a spontaneous assault sparked by demonstrations over the film. Officials told Reuters there were suspicions that a militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade was involved in the attack. The group has denied the claim. They also cited reports suggesting al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, known as al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved, the news agency reports. The protests followed rallies in Cairo, where demonstrators angry at the film, called Innocence of Muslims, breached the walls of the US embassy and tore down the flag.
Libya attack: US to investigate Benghazi assault
13 September 2012
The US is investigating whether the attack in Libya that killed the US ambassador and several other people was planned in advance, officials say. The assault had earlier been thought to have been a spontaneous reaction to protests over an anti-Islamic film. Armed men stormed the consulate in the city of Benghazi on Tuesday night. Officials have now said the attack was complex and professional, and reports suggest the perpetrators may have had links to jihadist groups. A senior US official quoted by AFP news agency said the Benghazi attackers appeared to have used the demonstrations as a pretext to staging an assault. "This was a complex attack," he told the news agency. "They seemed to have used this [protest] as an opportunity." US officials told Reuters news agency there were suspicions that a militia known as the Ansar al-Sharia brigade was responsible, although the group has denied the claim. They said there were also reports that al-Qaeda's north Africa-based affiliate, al-Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved, the news agency reports.
US Libyan consulate attack: Timeline of events
14 September 2012
Investigators are trying to piece together exactly what happened during Tuesday's US consulate attack in the Libyan city of Benghazi. They are trying to establish whether the assault was planned or spontaneous. Libyan Deputy Interior Minister Wanis al-Sharif has told reporters he believes militants used an anti-US protest as cover for the attack, and may have had help from inside the country's security services.