President Barack Obama spoke to Spanish-language television network Telemundo answering questions on the attacks on U.S. embassies in Egypt and Libya. José Diaz-Balart, host of Noticiero Telemundo asked him if he politicized his statements on 60 minutes in response to Mitt Romney’s statements against him.
“I think my statements have been very clear,” Mr. Obama said. “I was asked directly by Steve Kroft on 60 Minutes what I thought of these comments. And what I said was this wasn’t the time for politics. I have observed that there’s a tendency to shoot before you aim, as I pointed out.”
Mr. Obama also explained what he believed to be his role in this conflict.
“And that as president, my obligation is to focus on the security for our people, making sure that we gather all the facts, making sure that we’re advancing American interests, and not having idealogical arguments on a day when we are mourning the loss of outstanding folks who have served our country very well,” Mr. Obama said. “You know I think at this point probably the best thing to do would be to refer the questions about Mr. Romney’s comments to the Romney campaign.”
Mr. Obama believes that the U.S. needs to be involved in helping these countries develop their democracies.
“The United States doesn’t have the option of withdrawing from the world,” Mr. Obama said. “And we’re the one indispensable nation countries all around the world look to us for leadership. Even countries sometimes where you experience protests. So it’s important for us to stay engaged.”
Mr. Obama noted how Libyans are grateful for U.S. support in overthrowing Muammar Gaddafi. He also defended the Libyans by stating how they helped defend embassy staff.
“Many Libyans came to the defense of our team in Benghazi when they were attacked,” Mr. Obama said. “But what we have to now is to do a full investigation; find out the facts; who perpetrated these terrible acts and bring them to justice.”
Mr. Obama also emphasized the U.S. “relentless” pursuit of the group responsible for the embassy attacks speaking at a rally in Las Vegas Nevada on Wednesday. He admitted that there is still a lot of work to do in helping Libya and Egypt build their new governments.
“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally; but we don’t consider them an enemy. They are a government that is trying to find its way,” Mr. Obama said. “They were democratically elected. I think we have to see how they respond to this incident. How they respond to maintain the peace treaty with Israel.”
A key policy requirement to which Mr. Obama is going to hold these two countries accountable is how they will work to keep U.S. embassy staff safe while on their diplomatic missions.