Detailed information is still coming together this morning, but it appears that four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens, were killed in Libya by violent protesters. Responding to an obscure anti-Islam video posted to YouTube by some random bigot, and promoted by an obscure Florida pastor, protestors attacked the U.S. consulate in Benghazi with rifles and rocket-propelled grenades.
The Romney campaign, which dismissed foreign policy as a "distraction" yesterday, now hopes to exploit the violence to advance Mitt Romney's political ambitions.
Before violence erupted at the American consulate, the U.S. embassy condemned the fringe YouTube video. Romney, in an official statement, said "the Obama administration's first response" to the violence was to "sympathize with those who waged the attacks" on our consulate. That's not what happened.
I genuinely want to know what kind of person sees a foreign attack on Americans -- an attack that has reportedly led to four U.S. deaths -- and thinks it's acceptable to lie about the violence to gain a few points in the polls. The campaign isn't going Romney's way right now, but is that an excuse to exploit the death of Americans with cheap rhetoric? In the face of violence abroad, this was Romney's first instinct?
President Obama issued a statement this morning, "strongly" condemning "the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi." Secretary of State Hillary Clinton issued her own condemnation of the attack overnight, "in the strongest terms." The White House also rejected some tweets from U.S. diplomats in Egypt that had not been cleared by the administration.
Update: This post originally quoted a statement from RNC Chairman Reince Priebus, but he was referring to Egypt, not Libya.