A fire burns at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
We talked earlier about the violent protests that killed four Americans in Libya, including U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens. Politically, Mitt Romney, relying on false information, called the Obama administration's response "disgraceful," and accused the administration of "sympathiz[ing] with those" who killed U.S. officials abroad.
It seems as if Romney has finally gone too far. NBC News' First Read called out "one of the most over-the-top and (it turns out) incorrect attacks of the general-election campaign," which looks "worse and worse" as more information comes to light.
This was news-cycle campaigning by the Romney campaign gone awry. Why didn't the Romney campaign wait until it had all the facts? On his overseas trip in the summer, Romney was so careful not to criticize Obama while on foreign soil. But how much time do you give an administration to work through a diplomatic and international crisis before trying to score immediate political points? You'd expect the Sarah Palins of the world to quickly pounce on something like this, and she predictably did. But a presidential nominee running for the highest office in the land?
After the facts have come out, last night's Romney statement only feeds the narrative that his campaign is desperate.
ABC News' Jake Tapper had a related report, noting the challenges facing the Obama administration in light of developments in Libya and Egypt, but also highlighting Romney's mistake.
GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney will likely face questions of his own today, not only about his foreign policy views (Romney had at least five different positions on Libya as of last October) but about his statesmanship.
Before news spread that four Americans had been killed in Benghazi, Romney yesterday issued a statement saying in part: "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."
This is an attack that does not stand up to simple chronology.
The Republican candidate was so eager to attack the president that he ended up lying while trying to exploit the deaths of four Americans abroad.
Romney was faced with an important leadership test last night. He failed spectacularly.
Update: Romney is speaking on the violence on camera now.