If I’ve got it straight, here’s the actual order of events: 1) U.S. diplomats in Cairo shamefully apologize more or less preemptively for private U.S. citizens exercising their First Amendment rights in a way that “hurts the religious feelings” of Muslims. 2) “Protests” intensify into attacks on embassy in Cairo and consulate in Benghazi. 3) Romney calls Cairo embassy response disgraceful. 4) News of murders of Americans in Benghazi. 5) Obama administration disavows Cairo embassy line. 6) Obama campaign flack LaBolt shames Romney for politicizing murders.
But the instant narrative from the media is that Romney “jumped the gun”, that using the death of Americans as a campaign prop and broken the sacred rule that “politics stops at the water’s edge.” Except that’s not what happened at all. Cairo jumped the gun on its controllers in Washington, and by the time Cairo’s disgraceful response filtered out into the media either it was being rendered more disgraceful still by the violent turn the protests took, and Romney rightly condemned it as disgraceful. The Obama administration then caught up to Romney and muzzled Cairo. So how is Romney the one with the bad messaging here?