What they're saying: Defending Mitt

Some conservatives have Romney's back on Libya

Published September 12, 2012 8:29PM (EDT)

Most mainstream Republicans backed away from Mitt Romney over his politically motivated - and erroneous - comments about the Obama administration's "disgraceful" response to yesterday's embassy attacks. Lucky for Mitt, at what might be the low point of a campaign that doesn't lack for competition, he has a few allies on the right who have gone to the mat for him:

"Gov. Romney's statement is pretty clear. If Gov. Romney were president he would be enraged at the Egyptians for tolerating the attack on the embassy. He would be offended at the Libyans for allowing -- both countries have an obligation to protect our embassies." - Newt Gingrich, on CNN.

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"Governor Romney is absolutely right, there is no justification for these deadly attacks and we should never apologize for American freedom. Islamic radicals will use any pretext to justify their hatred of America and our freedom. It was disheartening to hear the administration condemn Americans engaging in free speech that hurt the feelings of Muslims, while real atrocities have been repeatedly committed by Islamic radicals against women, Christians, and Jews in the Middle East." - Sen. Jim DeMint, (R-S.C.), in a statement.

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“I think what Mitt Romney was doing was recognizing that this is an administration whose foreign policy certainly is collapsing in many parts around the world." - Rep. Randy Forbes, (R-Va.), on CNN.

”The perception of American weakness that provided the foundation for these attacks is largely because of Obama administration mistakes and lack of resolve. A repetition of 1979 in Tehran is nor fetched, especially given the weakness of Obama’s statement this morning...The press criticism of Romney’s statement is so clearly at the administration’s behest that they are giving lapdogs a bad name.” - Former Ambassador John Bolton, to the Washington Post.

“Barack Obama’s in charge of the foreign service – him and Hillary Clinton. Their first instinct was to sympathize with the attackers with that statement. [Mitt] Romney was dead right pointing that out.” - Rush Limbaugh, on his radio show.

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"One can question the timing and tone of Mitt Romney’s statement last night. One can note he wasn't as fluent and clear as he might have been at his press conference this morning. Still, the fact remains that the events of September 11, 2012, represent a big moment for the country. Romney is right to sense this, and to seize on this moment as an occasion to explain the difference between his foreign policy and President Obama’s. He’s right to reject the counsel of the mainstream media, which is to keep quiet and give President Obama a pass." - William Kristol, on the Weekly Standard's blog.

By Jillian Rayfield

Jillian Rayfield is an Assistant News Editor for Salon, focusing on politics. Follow her on Twitter at @jillrayfield or email her at jrayfield@salon.com.

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