Former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani staunchly defended Mitt Romney’s response to the foreign attacks roiling Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East, branding President Barack Obama’s policy “feckless” and “naïve.”
Giuliani, who won widespread praise for his stewardship of New York in the wake of the September 11 terrorist attacks in 2001, strongly backed Romney’s criticism of Obama’s handling of the crisis that killed the U.S. ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens, and three other staffers. (Read more: Obama, Romney Brawl Over Embassy Attacks)
“If it were me, I would have been way more over the top than he was,” said Giuliani, who has cultivated an image as a pugnacious political brawler. He was critical of Obama’s initial support for the populist “Arab Spring” movements that forced entrenched dictatorships in Egypt and Libya from power last year.
Obama has shown “naïve, almost childish support for these movements, without any regard for what’s going to come after,” Giuliani said. He drew a comparison between the unrest in Egypt and Libya and the 1979 Iranian hostage crisis that bedeviled — and ultimately helped to unseat — President Jimmy Carter.
Romney has been harshly criticized by commentators and even some Republicans for violating the age-old adage of politics “stopping at the water’s edge” during a foreign policy crisis. Giuliani, however, laid the responsibility squarely at the feet of the Obama administration.
“I think this president has to own what we see on television right now,” Giuliani said. “I think he owns it, I think he helped create it, and I think his naïve attitude about Islamic extremist terrorism, which goes down to never want him to say the word [terrorism]” has exacerbated the turmoil.