Both President Obama and Gov. Mitt Romney spoke earlier today about the horrendous murders yesterday of U.S. foreign service officials in Benghazi, Libya. Of the two, only Romney took questions from the media. Yet rather than scrutinize the president's failure to be open to inquiry from members of the press, MSBNC's Thomas Roberts and NBC's chief White House correspondent Chuck Todd devoted the top segment of the 11 a.m. MSNBC Live program to focusing on Romney "doubling down" in today's press conference of his criticism of the Obama administration.
For his part, Roberts suggested Romney's press conference today was in response to President Obama's post-convention bounce in the polls:
Chuck, is this going to help Mitt Romney try to get some swing votes, foreign policy, where does that weigh into the factor that President Obama got such a bounce out of the convention that he would now politicize this event that took place in Libya to such a degree?
Todd answered that "politically, this is a riskier debate to try to pick" with "risky" timing, "There was more risk here than potential reward" as Romney was "chasing the news cycle politics of campaigning" and risking looking partisan when Obama followed up 15 minutes later with a Rose Garden statement.
Todd did note that Obama failed to note how the Egyptian government has "yet to condemn" the Cairo embassy attack. "There's still a larger question to be answered" there, he allowed. Still, the tenor of the discussion was on the political ramifications of Romney's statement, rather than any policy concerns with the U.S. handling of the so-called Arab Spring, and how unstable and anti-American the governments of Egypt and Libya may end up as a result.
P.S.: It is also notable that just before his discussion with Todd, Roberts reported that the American flag was torn down at the Cairo embassy yesterday and replaced "with a black banner." As other news outlets have reported, however, said black banner is akin to those that have been used by al Qaeda terrorists. It's curious, to say the least, that that fact was omitted, especially given the embassy attack falling on the anniversary of 9/11.