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    President Obama “sympathized” with those who attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in Libya and Egypt


    The U.S. Embassy in Cairo released a statement that tried to head off violence there in September 2012

    On September 11, 2012, protesters assaulted the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, and shortly thereafter, a group of militants attacked a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya. The U.S. ambassador to Libya and three others were killed in the attack.

    As the events were taking place, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney released a statement claiming 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.”

    The New York Times explained that this claim cannot be correct because it confuses the timeline of events:

    Mr. Romney’s comments were referring to a statement released by the American Embassy in Cairo that condemned an American-made Web film denouncing Islam -- the catalyst for the protests and violence in Cairo. However, the embassy’s statement was released in an effort to head off the violence, not after the attacks, as Mr. Romney’s statement implied. (Though the embassy staff in Cairo later said on Twitter that their original statement “still stands” -- a Tweet they then tried to delete — the Obama administration disavowed the embassy’s statement).

    The Times noted that Romney’s statement was released “before news that J. Christopher Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, had been killed in the attacks.”