Mitt Romney's presidential campaign is pushing talking points to Republican leaders and top GOP surrogates, urging them to dismiss questions about how Team Romney responded overnight to the violence in Libya and Egypt.
Romney's chief spokesperson struggles to defend the indefensible.
And yet, Romney aides continue to discuss the issue themselves, making their third effort in 17 hours to get this right.
The Romney campaign continues to defend its increasingly isolated response to the Libya consulate attack, claiming that the White House implicitly acknowledged its criticism was accurate by disavowing an earlier statement from the U.S. embassy in Egypt.
"If Gov. Romney 'jumped the gun' why were White House officials also distancing themselves from the statement?" Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "Why didn't President Obama take any questions from the press this morning to explain?"
Saul was referring to a statement released Tuesday by the U.S. embassy in Cairo, which said that it "condemns the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions." The White House later disavowed that press release and subsequent tweets from the embassy's Twitter account that referred to it were deleted.
It appears the Romney campaign is confused. Perhaps I can help focus matters by asking simple, straightforward questions they can answer at their leisure.
* Does Romney realize that the embassy condemned anti-Muslim propaganda before protests turned violent? If so, why has Romney lied about it?
* Can Romney defend the charge that the "Obama administration's first response" was "to sympathize with those who waged the attacks"?
* Can Romney defend the charge that Obama administration officials "apologized for American values"? If, in Romney's mind, criticizing anti-Muslim propaganda is implicitly the same thing as "apologizing for American values," why did the Romney campaign echo the Obama administration's condemnation of the anti-Muslim propaganda in question?
* If Romney thinks White House officials right to distance themselves from tweets from the Cairo embassy, why does Romney also think White House officials were wrong?
Meanwhile, the Washington Post editorial board, which I think it's fair to say is not exactly liberal, published an item this afternoon saying Romney's rhetoric "discredits his campaign."