Republican leaders are not backing off in their criticism of Barack Obama's national security policies in the wake of a statement by Obama that the Middle East is only suffering "bumps in the road" in a televised interview over the weekend.
One of those critics, and the person responsible for the road analogy is Ari Fleisher, former White House press secretary under President George W. Bush. In one tweet regarding President Obama's Middle East strategy, Fleisher wrote:
"I guess when u win a Nobel Peace Prize for doing nothing an attack that kills an Ambassador is just a 'bump in the road.'"
Although some Republicans are trying to keep the campaign focused on the economy in their hopes to defeat Obama, still others maintain that the foreign policy blunders of the Obama administration should be showcased to the American public as well.
Two GOP leaders known for their foreign policy expertise, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and Arizona Sen. John McCain, are concerned that President Obama has lost the respect of both Americans and foreign governments over his recent missteps in the Middle East.
Both argued their case during the GOP convention in late August, with Rice warning, "You cannot lead from behind."
"Either no one will lead and there will be chaos, or someone will fill the vacuum who does not share our values," said Rice.
McCain, who has long been outspoken on foreign policy issues, has criticized the Obama administration for leaking classified and secret information on the "secrets of their heroic operations" to select media sources. He was also critical of the administration's handling of Iran.
"When Iranians rose up by the millions against their repressive rulers ... the president missed an historic opportunity to throw America's full moral support behind an Iranian revolution that shared one of our highest interests: ridding Iran of a brutal dictatorship that terrorized the Middle East and threatens the world."
And then came the attacks on a U.S. compound in Libya that killed an American ambassador and three others. And it happened on 9/11.
For over a week, senior members of the Obama administration insisted the attack in Libya was caused by a spontaneous mob outburst, whose anger originated from a movie trailer placed on You Tube that insulted Islam and that the attack had no connection to 9/11.
An initial tweet sent from state department officials in Egypt signaled an early apology from those who could have insulted Middle East Muslims, saying in part 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."
Soon after the deaths of Ambassador Christopher Stevens and the others were reported, State Department officials began laying blame for the uprising on a film being promoted by Florida Pastor Terry Jones. As information began to surface a couple of days later, it was proven that although Jones was in possession of the film, he did not make, produce or fund the project.
U.S. ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice and others, for over nine days maintained that the "hateful videos" was the root cause of the deaths, going as far as saying, "We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned."
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney also repeatedly denied any possibility of the attacks being orchestrated by al-Qaida. "I think that you're conveniently conflating two things," quipped Carney in one press briefing, "which is the anniversary of 9/11 and the incidents that took place, which are under investigation."
Information uncovered in the days following proved that most everything the administration was saying was false.
After being briefed by State Department officials and others, Congressman Adam Smith, a Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee, was in agreement. "This was not just a mob that got out of hand," Smith said. "Mobs don't come in and attack, guns blazing. I think that there is a growing consensus it was preplanned."
And as the dust is settling on the Libya attacks and as more violence is being seen in the Middle East, the YouTube video is not being talked about much in the U.S. However, the one problem that remains is viewership has gone from a measly few thousand on September 10 to every Muslim in the world now having another excuse to be angry with America.
In an article in The Weekly Standard titled "Permanent Spin" by Stephen Hayes, he points out that what began four years ago as an effort to win the hearts of foreign governments through an understanding diplomacy, has turned out to be anything but that.
"Barack Obama came to office promising to repair relations with the Islamic world. What he couldn't accomplish by the mere fact of his presidency, through his name and his familiarity with Islam, he would achieve through 'smart diplomacy,'" writes Hayes.
"Instead, over the last four years, and particularly the last two weeks, the defining characteristics of his foreign policy have been mendacity, incompetence, and, yes, stupidity."