Saturday, January 20, 2018
Editorials

Romney's quick attack ill-advised

The circumstances surrounding an overnight mob attack in Libya that resulted in the death of the American ambassador and three of his staff members were still being investigated Wednesday. The Obama administration suspected the deadly violence in Libya may have been planned in advance, compared with the more spontaneous outburst outside an American Embassy in Cairo. Yet even before the details were clear, Mitt Romney exploited the volatile situation for political gain with inaccurate and inappropriate criticism of the Obama administration.

After pledging to take a day off from campaign attacks to honor the anniversary of the 9/11 terrorist attacks, Romney responded late Tuesday night to violence at the American Embassy in Cairo with a harshly critical statement: "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.''

Two problems: First, the response was a statement from the embassy in Cairo that was released hours before Americans were attacked. Second, the statement was aimed at preventing violence and calming the angry response over the release of Innocence of Muslims, a hateful film critical of Islam and heavily promoted by fringe anti-Islamic Gainesville pastor Terry Jones. The embassy had criticized the movie as the handiwork of "misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.'' Romney disingenuously seized upon the statement as a "disgrace" that sympathized with the protesters rather than a condemnation of the attacks.

The Republican nominee continued to exploit the situation on Wednesday in Jacksonville, after the deaths of U.S. ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens and three of his staff members. While seasoned congressional Republicans condemned the violence and avoided criticism, Romney accused the Obama administration of offering an apology for America's values. The statement may have been inartfully worded in the heat of the moment and later disavowed by the White House, but there was no apology from the United States to factions who killed Americans. Criticizing a hateful video does not mean siding with protesters or violent extremists attacking Americans on foreign soil.

There are unanticipated turns of events in every political campaign that provide insights about the candidates, their judgment and their grace under pressure. Romney's factual mistake, exploitation of an evolving situation in which Americans were killed, and poor timing is one of those moments.

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Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

Editorial: Criminal charges should finally wake up FSU fraternities to hazing’s dangers

The death last fall of a 20-year-old Florida State University fraternity pledge revealed pervasive dangerous behavior within the school’s Greek system. Andrew Coffey, a Pi Kappa Phi pledge, died from alcohol poisoning after an off-campus party, and a...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: Confronting racial distrust in St. Petersburg, one conversation at a time

The St. Petersburg Police Department’s heavy presence in Midtown on Martin Luther King Jr. Day and the community animosity it stirred have raised a familiar, troubling question: Can St. Petersburg’s racial divisions ever be reconciled?That big ideal ...
Published: 01/19/18
William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

William March: Tampa Bay Democrats line up for state legislative races

A surge of Democrats seeking local legislative offices and hoping for a "blue wave" in the 2018 election continued last week, led by Bob Buesing filing to run again versus state Sen. Dana Young, R-Tampa.In addition:• Heather Kenyon Stahl of Tampa has...
Published: 01/19/18
Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

Editorial: Saying ‘thank you’ helps Tampa police build needed trust

The smiles, applause and at least one hug belied the grim impetus for a gathering last week at a neighborhood center in Tampa — the Seminole Heights killings.The Tampa Police Department held a ceremony to thank those who helped in the investigation t...
Published: 01/19/18

Editorial: State’s warning shot should get attention of Hillsborough schools

The state Board of Education hopefully sent the message this week with its warning shot about the slow pace of the turnaround at Hillsborough County’s low-performing schools.The board criticized the school system for failing to replace administrators...
Published: 01/18/18
Updated: 01/19/18
Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

Editorial: More talk, answers needed on future of USF St. Petersburg

The Florida Legislature’s abrupt move to strip the University of South Florida St. Petersburg of its hard-earned separate accreditation and transform it back into a satellite of the major research university lacks detail and an appreciation for histo...
Published: 01/18/18

Another voice: Self-dealing by nursing home owners threatens patient care

The outsourcing of logistical support services, which became commonplace in the U.S. military in the 1990s and later was adopted by state prison systems, has now come to dominate the nursing home industry. And while nursing homes, unlike the military...
Published: 01/17/18
Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Editorial: Making illegal sewage discharges legal is wrong answer

Three years into a crisis with its sewer system, St. Petersburg has a dandy new idea for dealing with the environmental fallout of dumping dirty water into the aquifer. Instead of committing to banning the outlawed practice, a consultant suggested th...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

Editorial: Tighten substitute teacher rules in Hillsborough

A substitute teacher at a Plant City elementary school berated a class of fourth graders — and then the school principal. Another compared a student to a stripper. Others were caught napping, hitting children, making sexual remarks, giving students b...
Published: 01/16/18
Updated: 01/17/18
Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

Editorial: Balancing the playing field for workers’ compensation

For the longest time, injured workers in Florida were basically at the mercy of the whims of employers to treat them fairly. A 2003 law aimed at reducing the cost of workers’ compensation coverage for businesses had the desired impact, but it also di...
Published: 01/16/18