Embassy Attacks Cited in Carter-Era Analogies

Article excerpt

Byline: Ralph Z. Hallow, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Mitt Romney's overtly political response to Tuesday's attacks on American diplomatic posts in Egypt and Libya drew fire from both the left and right, but some Republicans said the flare-up gives him an opening to further paint President Obama as the heir to President Carter.

In an election heretofore dominated by domestic issues, the embassy attacks have now added a foreign-policy crisis to the mix, which GOP strategists and analysts said is reminiscent of the Iranian hostage situation that made Mr. Carter look weak and ineffectual in the 1980 presidential elections.

The 2012 election is similar to 1980, when you had a foreign crisis in the Mideast and a bad economy at home, said American Crossroads chairman and former Republican National Committee Chairman Mike Duncan.

Foreign policy had been considered a strong point for Mr. Obama heading into the election. He had wound down the war in Iraq, had overseen American efforts to help oust Libyan strongman Moammar Gadhafi and had approved the daring attack that killed terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.

But the diplomatic post attacks - including another overnight in Yemen - provide images, such as an American ambassador's body being dragged in the street, that could feed the comparisons.

Evangelical organizer David Lane, founder of the California-based Pastors and Pews, said that America's 39th president was the last president who created such instability with the U.S. economy and foreign policy: the byproduct was turmoil in the world. …