FAIRFAX, Va. (AP) — Facing criticism, Republican White House nominee Mitt Romney on Thursday muted his barbed attacks against President Barack Obama's handling of a diplomatic crisis and tried to refocus the campaign on the economy.
The GOP challenger delivered a spirited speech and television ad accusing the president of failing American workers. But he did not repeat his assertions that Obama apologized for American values in response to Mideast protests sparked by an obscure anti-Muslim film made in California.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in Libya, and demonstrators also tore down flags at U.S. embassies in Egypt and Yemen.
Obama, juggling the work of commander in chief while campaigning in a close race for re-election, told voters he was responding to the crisis by directing his administration to "do whatever is necessary" to protect Americans serving abroad.
"We are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice," Obama promised at a rally in Golden, Colo. The Pentagon has dispatched two warships to the Libyan coast, ready to respond to any mission ordered by the president. Attorney General Eric Holder is returning from meetings in the Mideast to direct a criminal investigation into the consulate deaths.
"I want people around the world to hear me," Obama said. "To all those who would do us harm: No act of terror will go unpunished. I will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."
Romney only briefly mentioned the crisis at the top of his speech in Virginia, one of fewer than 10 battleground states where the campaign is focused with less than eight weeks until Election Day. He spoke broadly about the need to strengthen American leadership overseas and warned that Obama was undercutting U.S. military might.
A heckler yelled out: "Why are you politicizing Libya?" The crowd drowned him out with chants of "U-S-A" and supporters nearby tried to place a Romney/Ryan placard in front of his face. The man ripped up the sign and was escorted out.
Romney focused most of his speech on criticism of Obama's record on jobs, wages and a growing gap between the rich and the poor.
"His policies have not worked," Romney said. His new television ad accuses Obama of losing jobs while China is gaining.
The change in message brought Romney back to an issue where he is seen as stronger and away from a touchy debate in the midst of the unfolding international emergency that brought him criticism even from some Republicans.
Polling shows voters see Romney, a former businessman, as a stronger leader on economic issues and Obama, who ended the Iraq war and led the mission that killed Osama bin Laden, as stronger in foreign affairs.
Romney advisers said there was a sense in the campaign as unrest unfolded in the Arab world that Romney needed to be decisive and swift in his response to distinguish himself from the president's tone — which Romney calls apologist — on some foreign policy matters.
Romney had suggested that Obama was weak and didn't react quickly enough to condemn the attacks. He was criticized in some political and foreign policy circles for the tone, substance and motives of his response, but was backed up Thursday by Sen. John McCain, who said the president's "feckless foreign policy" has weakened America.
Obama responded to Romney's attacks on the diplomatic crisis by suggesting the Republican is reckless and untested as a world leader. Obama accused him of having "a tendency to shoot first and aim later."
Obama blamed Republican leadership in the past decade for problems in the economy and asked for another term to continue working on them. "We've got so much work to do because there's still a lot of folks out there hurting," Obama said.
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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