Green Room

Mitt Romney’s anger flashes on the “apology tour”

posted at 9:01 am on October 23, 2012 by

Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney rarely displays anger.  Despite petty–even snarky–jabs aimed at him from President Obama during the past two presidential debates, Romney maintained a cool, above-it-all demeanor that made him appear more presidential than the president.

But there was a flash of anger in Romney’s performance at the last of the three debates, and, appropriately, it was anger expressed on behalf of the American people. The contrast with the president couldn’t have been more striking. While Obama talked about “me, the nation” (hmm…where have we heard that before? ), Romney displayed control and humility, brushing past most of  Obama’s attacks as if to signal, “this isn’t about me personally.”

But Romney showed fire when he took the president to task for his “apology tour,” and in this instance, Romney spoke for many Americans, not just himself.

This was the only moment during the various debates that triggered a visceral reaction from me, and I suspect that’s true of many other like-minded folks who watched. After Romney mentioned the president’s “apology tour,” and the president described that as a “whopper” discredited by the media, Romney went on to explain:



Mr. President, the reason I called it an apology tour is because you went to the Middle East, you flew to Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Turkey and Iraq.

By the way, you skipped Israel, our closest friend in the region, but you went to the other nations.

And by the way, they noticed that you skipped Israel.

And in those nations on Arabic TV, you said America had been dismissive and derisive. You said that on occasion America had dictated to other nations.

Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators.

Bravo! Whatever our country’s flaws, we don’t need to have a president acting like a preening member of an over-rated country music group dissing us while abroad. Romney spoke for all of us in that clip, and he showed the right level of righteous indignation and anger on our behalf.

It was a knockout moment, but it occurred around the hour mark of a debate up against Monday Night Football and baseball on the schedule.

Here’s hoping the moment is replayed often.

Libby Sternberg is a novelist

Recently in the Green Room:



Trackback URL


It was a good point crafted well by Romney and redolent of truth. However, he’s already made the larger case of being more presidential than the President.

It would make a good ad, but I think a lot of folks have the economy on their minds more so than foreign policy positions.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on October 23, 2012 at 9:30 AM


BDU-33 on October 23, 2012 at 9:35 AM

Thanks for this, Libby. You’re the first commentator I’ve seen who has pointed this out. For me, this was the most stunning moment in the debate, because when Obama had an opportunity to respond to this, he said nothing. It was as though he realized that he had been trapped by his own words, and couldn’t find a way out. It was an implicit recognition that he’d been caught lying about his own record, and there was nothing he could do about it. It was…marvelous.

Athanasius on October 23, 2012 at 9:58 AM

“BOB” translation “Mommy”

Daisy_WI on October 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

I am so proud of Romney for sticking to this point!!! It’s been cutely “fact-checked” and dismissed by the MSM so that many Americans had not heard about it. But it is a big issue personally to Romney, he mentioned it in his RNC convention speech and has talked about it often through the campaign. And it is a defining difference between him and Obama. Obama sounded very lame in response and especially when he whined about visiting Israel when he was campaigning – everyone knows he was pandering for Jewish votes then.

And don’t forget this debate happened in Boca, where a lot of Jewish voters live and were watching.

rockmom on October 23, 2012 at 10:15 AM

I’m so glad Romney brought that up. I had forgotten about it but it was Obamuh’s first major foreign policy flub as president and it really offended a lot of us. And I’m sure the slimestreamers are avoiding talking about it bcuz they would choke if they had to mention it.

stukinIL4now on October 23, 2012 at 11:17 AM

Pres. Dixie Chicks! He will be in the same place as they currently are soon.

hillsoftx on October 23, 2012 at 11:20 AM

I thoroughly enjoyed that he brought that up. Also all the bowing obummer did to foreign leaders. That got me so mad.

jake49 on October 23, 2012 at 11:36 AM

It was a great moment for Romney. The best thing is you can tell his response comes from the heart. He loves our country.

cheetah2 on October 23, 2012 at 11:42 AM

CNN “Fact Checked” this last night as false on the premise that the president never actually said the words “I’m sorry” or “apology”. What a despicable utterly corrupt media we have.

bigjack on October 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

I was really happy Mitt did that. I actually shouted “YES!” as he finished that remark. He had just enough power and bite behind it to really make it stand out.

SCOAMF’s got nuthin.

BTW, the Romney campaign has already made an ad out of it.

Dominion on October 23, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Thanks Libby for posting this. I am so happy Mitt stood up for the US on this matter. Mitt, IMO, loves our Republic and Israel. I feel with all my heart Mitt will not bow or apologize to any nation about the US! bho actually seems to hate our nation and by his policies the proof is everywhere!

God bless the US and Israel.

letget on October 23, 2012 at 12:20 PM

Great line! Perfect response to Odumbo’s apology tour.

Progressive Heretic on October 23, 2012 at 12:49 PM

“BOB” translation “Mommy”

Daisy_WI on October 23, 2012 at 10:05 AM

But my sons had never once entreated “Mommy” to save them in their young ages, not even when they were pre-school kids. So is it safe for me to say they were more the man than O? Yes.

vnohara on October 23, 2012 at 1:14 PM

That, I thought was the best part of last night’s debate. If President Downgrade had anything to battle (future president) Romney with, Mitt still had even more ammunition. He could have also referenced BOWING DOWN to middle east arabs. Thank you Mr. Romney, truly a leader that these United States need.

WV. Paul on October 23, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Mr. President, America has not dictated to other nations, we have freed other nations from dictators.

Better than “Tear down this wall!” IMHO

BigAlSouth on October 23, 2012 at 3:42 PM

CNN “Fact Checked” this last night as false on the premise that the president never actually said the words “I’m sorry” or “apology”. What a despicable utterly corrupt media we have.

bigjack on October 23, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Oh, good heavens, they’re right. So it’s not the “apology tour”, it’s the “confessional tour”. Sounds like something Madonna would have done back in her “Catholic period”.

smellthecoffee on October 23, 2012 at 9:49 PM

HotAir — Politics, Culture, Media, 2017, Breaking News from a conservative viewpoint
Top Pick

Medicare for all?

Top Pick

“There comes a point where you gotta get off the crazy train.”

Poll: Dem voters glumly sticking with Pelosi

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 8:41 PM

Disaster ahead?

“When she left it, it was in better shape than it had ever been.”

Manafort, firm registers as foreign agents

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 6:41 PM

Better late than never?

Delivered as promised

“I would like to think that the president saved many innocent men, women and children.”

“The Russia investigation was by far the dominant topic…”

The merry little media war continues.

Criminal enterprise

Politico: Has the SPLC lost its way?

John Sexton Jun 28, 2017 3:01 PM

“The organization has always tried to find ways to milk money out of the public…”

Trump legal team backing away from Comey complaint?

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 2:31 PM


Time to get up and go to work, sir

CNN gets glum, defensive after resignations

John Sexton Jun 28, 2017 1:01 PM

“If Jeff lit himself on fire, it wouldn’t appease the pro-Trump media.”

Hmmm: FBI probing Russia-based anti-virus firm?

Ed Morrissey Jun 28, 2017 12:31 PM

“I wouldn’t put their stuff on my computer if you paid me.”

He works hard for the money…

It’s not a slippery slope. It’s a freaking avalanche.


Showdown: Sarah Palin vs the New York Times

Jazz Shaw Jun 28, 2017 9:21 AM


Credit where creditor’s due?

More flash than bang, but a very bad sign

“Felix was out on bond after threatening another public servant and has a history of making threats.”

Chaffetz: House needs housing allowances?

Ed Morrissey Jun 27, 2017 8:41 PM

“There are dozens upon dozens of members living in their offices, and I don’t know how healthy that is long term.”

“This isn’t going to get a lot cheaper, it can’t, it won’t.”

“…what we failed to achieve with votes, we would do with weapons.”

“[S]o dumb it’s amazing we even have to have the conversation.”

“It was not necessary.”

“You’re inflaming everyone right here right now with those words!”

“Trump’s people said, ‘We’ll be writing the speech that the President’s Audio-Animatronic figure will be saying.'”

Excuses, excuses.

Not really a “kill all the lawyers” scenario

4 pm ET!

“it has not taken serious steps to end its own complicity in trafficking, including forced laborers from North Korea.”