Presidential campaigns often turn on unexpected events.
Campaigns try to control ever factor that they can. They control message. They control access to the candidate and to top officials. Advance teams prepare for scripted events. Schedules are reviewed for days and planned down to the greatest level of detail possible.
But there are moments like the tragedy that unfolded in Egypt and Libya that test candidates. The element of surprise often illuminates a candidate’s ability to inspire and to lead.
When given the opportunity, Mitt Romney’s response was far from presidential.
Romney preferred to call the president’s handling “disgraceful”.
Romney was so eager for the news cycle to turn in his favor that he forgot what office he was running for.
At times of death and national tragedy – and especially on September 11 – candidates should be respectful and acknowledge the loss.
Instead of thinking about the public servants who lost their lives in a horrible tragedy, Romney was thinking about losing in November
In a hasty attempt to score cheap political points and try to contain the president’s momentum, Mitt Romney released a statement criticizing the administration before the facts were in.
Romney’s goal was to deliver a critical blow to the president rather than address the national tragedy.
In that moment Mitt Romney failed the leadership test.
Just like John McCain, who failed to inspire confidence during the financial crisis four years ago.
This is not the first time Romney has blundered when attacking the administration on foreign policy. Earlier this year he criticized the US handling of a Chinese dissident. But while Romney was criticizing Obama was acting. The administration was successfully negotiating his safe departure.
Every Romney foray into foreign policy has been a disaster for his campaign.
About Bill Buck
Bill Buck is a Democratic strategist, President of the Buck Communications Group, a media relations and new media strategies consulting business based in Washington, DC, and Managing Director of the online ad firm Influence DSP. He has over twenty years of international and national communications experience. The views and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of CBS Local.