Tuesday, June 19, 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.

Comments
Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Editorial: Trump should stop taking children away from parents at the border

Innocent children should not be used as political pawns. That is exactly what the Trump administration is doing by cruelly prying young children away from their parents as these desperate families cross the Mexican border in search of a safer, better...
Updated: 12 hours ago

Editorial: ATF should get tougher on gun dealers who violate the law

Gun dealers who break the law by turning a blind eye to federal licensing rules are as dangerous to society as people who have no right to a possess a firearm in the first place. Yet a recent report shows that the federal agency responsible for polic...
Published: 06/17/18
Updated: 06/18/18
Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

Editorial: Encouraging private citizens to step up on transit

The new grass-roots effort to put a transportation package before Hillsborough County voters in November faces a tough slog. Voters rejected a similar effort in 2010, and another in 2016 by elected officials never made it from the gate. But the lates...
Published: 06/15/18
Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Editorial: 40 years later, honoring remarkable legacy of Nelson Poynter

Forty years ago today, Nelson Poynter died. He was the last individual to own this newspaper, and to keep the Times connected to this community, he did something remarkable. He gave it away.In his last years, Mr. Poynter recognized that sooner or lat...
Published: 06/15/18

There was no FBI anti-Trump conspiracy

The Justice Department released Thursday the highly anticipated report on the FBI’s handling of the Hillary Clinton email probe and other sensitive issues in the 2016 election. It is not the report President Donald Trump wanted. But there is enough i...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Voter purge may be legal, but it’s also suppression

The Supreme Court’s ruling last Monday to allow Ohio’s purging of its voter rolls is difficult to dispute legally. While federal law prohibits removing citizens from voter rolls simply because they haven’t voted, Ohio’s purge is slightly different. T...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

Editorial: Free rides will serve as a test of whether the streetcar is serious transportation

Who wouldn’t jump at the chance to ride for free?This fall, the TECO Streetcar Line eliminates its $2.50-a-ride-fare, providing the best opportunity yet to see whether the system’s vintage streetcar replicas can serve as a legitimate transportation a...
Published: 06/14/18
Updated: 06/15/18

AT&T and the case for digital innovation

A good way to guarantee you’ll be wrong about something is to predict the future of technology. As in, "One day, we’ll all …" Experts can hazard guesses about artificial intelligence, driverless cars or the death of cable television, but technologica...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

Editorial: State, nonprofits share obligation to help Hillsborough’s foster kids

The Florida Department of Children and Families has correctly set a quick deadline for Hillsborough County’s main child welfare provider to correct its foster care program. For too long the same story has played out, where troubled teens who need fos...
Published: 06/14/18
Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

Editorial: Educate voters on Amendment 4 and restoring felons’ rights

This fall voters will have 13 constitutional amendments to wade through on the ballot, but Amendment 4 should get special focus. It represents a rare opportunity to rectify a grievous provision in the Florida Constitution, which permanently revokes t...
Published: 06/13/18
Updated: 06/14/18