Saturday, 15 September 2012
Libya attack political fallout: Obama as Carter? Romney as Nixon?
In this week’s political fight over the killing of the US ambassador in Libya, the two presidential candidates are being likened to White House predecessors they’d just as soon avoid: Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney to Richard Nixon.
It’s hardball campaign politics, of course, less surprising perhaps with the Obama-Carter comparison.
As he was fighting to get re-elected in 1980, Mr. Carter as commander-in-chief had to deal with the Iran hostage crisis – 52 Americans held for 444 days when militants took over the US Embassy in Tehran. Carter ordered a rescue mission that failed, killing eight US service personnel.
“For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated,” Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson told the Washington Post. (The reference is to Adolph Dubs, US ambassador to Afghanistan, killed in a kidnapping attempt in 1979.)
Other Republicans and conservative commentators weighed in as well with their own Carter comparisons, including Rep. Allen West, Sen. James Inhofe, former UN ambassador (and Romney advisor) John Bolton, and Sean Hannity on Fox News.
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Mr. Romney himself has invoked Carter, as did GOP vice presidential candidate Rep. Paul Ryan when he asserted that “every president since the Great Depression who asked Americans to send them into a second term could say that you are better off today than you were four years ago, except for Jimmy Carter and for President Barack Obama."
Mr. Carter, of course, lost the 1980 election, and the Romney campaign’s aim is to see President Obama meet the same political fate.
But in his controversial comments regarding the attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, Libya – that Obama was “sympathizing” with the attackers and “apologizing for America’s values” – Romney himself is being likened to a failed president, the one forced to resign in disgrace.