NYT's Parker Sees No Damaging 'Bumps in the Road' for Obama Campaign, Merely Romney 'Talking Points'

September 25th, 2012 2:47 PM

The New York Times is certainly not treating Barack Obama's statement on 60 Minutes that the death of four Americans in Libya, including Libyan ambassador Christopher Stevens, as one of a few "bumps in the road," as a callous and politically damaging gaffe. Reporter Ashley Parker reluctantly covered Romney delivering "talking points" to the media on the matter, in "Republican Team Attacks Obama on Foreign Policy," but her story opened by highlighting Romney's "tough" time, including yet another mention of Romney's "47 percent" comment at a private fundraiser.

In an interview that aired Sunday, Obama was asked by CBS's Steve Kroft whether "the recent events in the Middle East given you any pause about your support for the governments that have come to power following the Arab Spring?"

Obama responded in part: "But I was pretty certain and continue to be pretty certain that there are going to be bumps in the road because, you know, in a lot of these places, the one organizing principle has been Islam."

Parker began with Romney's bad news cycles:

Mitt Romney’s campaign is trying yet again to find solid footing, shifting its line of attack toward a subject President Obama has widely been thought to hold the advantage: foreign policy.

Coming off two weeks of tough news cycles for his candidacy -- criticism that he had mishandled the death of four Americans in Libya; a leaked video from a fund-raiser in which Mr. Romney said he believed that 47 percent of Americans consider themselves “victims” dependent on the government; and polls suggesting disturbing trends for Mr. Romney -- the candidate moved to restart his struggling campaign by going on the offensive against Mr. Obama on his handling of overseas crises. And he was joined by his running mate, Representative Paul D. Ryan, who likened the current turmoil in the Middle East to the 1979 Iranian revolution.

In a round of interviews with ABC News, CBS News and NBC News on Monday morning in Denver, Mr. Romney attacked Mr. Obama for remarks he made Sunday night on “60 Minutes,” in which the president called recent developments in the Middle East “bumps in the road.” Mr. Romney reiterated his criticism again at an outdoor campaign rally here in Pueblo, where he called the president’s comments “very surprising.”

“Bumps in the road?” Mr. Romney asked, as a grumbling murmur rippled through the crowd. “We had an ambassador assassinated. We had a Muslim Brotherhood elect a member, elected to the presidency of Egypt. Twenty thousand people have been killed in Syria. We have tumult in Pakistan, and of course Iran is that much closer to having the capacity to build a nuclear weapon.”


Speaking to the three networks in separate interviews, Mr. Romney stuck to his talking points.


Mr. Obama, meanwhile, flew to New York for the United Nations session, but his first order of business was to tape a session on ABC’s “The View,” where he joked with the assembled quintet of female co-hosts that he was there as “eye candy.”

Parker made no hint that President Obama was mis-prioritizing hisduties, an idea at least hinted at in Tuesday's Page 4 story by Helene Cooper and Peter Baker, "While U.N. Beckons Clinton, Obama Takes In ‘The View.'"

On Sunday, Parker and colleague Michael Barbaro got overzealous in naming and shaming prominent Romney supporters in "Behind Closed Doors With Donors, a More Candid Romney Emerges."

When Mr. Romney is with contributors, he at times embraces politically controversial figures. During an event at the Southampton, N.Y., estate of David H. Koch, the billionaire industrialist and political activist, a protester’s plane flew overheard with a sign that read “Romney has a Koch problem.”

“I don’t look at it as a problem,” Mr. Romney told the guests. “I look at it as an asset.”

During a fund-raiser at Mr. Cheney’s ranch, Mr. Romney called the former vice president “a great American leader,” even though he rarely mentions the Bush administration in speeches.

And during a fund-raiser here at the Red Rock casino and hotel on Friday, Mr. Romney singled out Sheldon Adelson, the polarizing casino magnate and outspoken Zionist who has pledged at least $40 million to groups trying to defeat Mr. Obama. “I don’t know how it is that Sheldon Adelson got the front row,” Mr. Romney said teasingly.