Mr. Romney reacted late Tuesday with his own statement: “I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama Administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” He followed Wednesday with a press conference reinforcing his criticisms of the Administration’s “mixed signals” on “our values.”
The Obama Presidential campaign jumped on the remarks Wednesday as inappropriate, yet a “senior Administration official” had told the website Politico later on Tuesday night that “The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government.” So the White House can walk away from its own diplomats, but Mr. Romney can’t criticize them?
Whatever the timing of the Cairo Embassy’s statements, Mr. Romney is right that a U.S. Embassy ought to ignore YouTube videos produced by obscure cranks. As Tuesday’s events showed, pandering to Islamists who would use the video to inflame anti-American sentiment isn’t going to stop the protests. The video “Innocence of Muslims” is inflammatory and its producer is a fool, but in the U.S. we don’t censor fools.