Mitt Romney was already losing this race. He's lead fewer than a quarter of national polls going back to 2011 and has never once lead the national average. He didn't get a bump from the Republican National Convention while Barack Obama got a 6-7 point bump, and all relevant electoral college projections show a relatively easy win for Obama (five for five).
When you've been losing since before you won your party's nomination, and are still behind with less than two months to go, as Greg Mitchell put it, "We're at that point during a campaign where party with losing prez candidate starts to worry about taking big hit in Congress."
Even a poor jobs report last Friday didn't help Romney. Obama's gains in the polls include the day the jobs report was released and several days after.
That goes a long ways towards explaining mistakes like this that always come from desperate campaigns and desperate candidates.
Ron Fouier, former Washington bureau chief for Associated Press, and conservative writer for National Journal:
A ham-handed and inaccurate response from Romney ... There is a reason why politix stops at water's edge
Mark Halperin, senior analyst for Time Magazine:
Unless Mitt has gamed crisis out in some manner completely invisible to Gang of 500, doubling down=most craven+ill-advised move of '12
Peggy Noonan, Reagan speech writer and columnist for the Wall Street Journal:
I don't feel that Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours. Sometimes when really bad things happen, when hot things happen, cool words or no words is the way to go.
Ben Smith, politico writer and BuzzFeed editor-in-chief:
If you think the eye-rolling at Romney is just coming from the MSM, call up some Republican foreign policy hands.
Joe Scarborough, former Republican Representative of Florida's 1st district, in response to above:
I've been inundated with emails and calls from elected GOP leaders who think Romney's response was a mistake. Not today.
The conservative Washington Post editorial board:
Mr. Romney's rhetoric on embassy attacks is a discredit to his campaign
... That it instead provoked a series of crude political attacks on President Obama by GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney is a discredit to his campaign.
Mr. Romney's first rhetorical assault came Tuesday night in response to a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was also besieged by demonstrators Tuesday. His statement claimed that the administration's first response was "to sympathize with those who waged the attacks." In fact the embassy statement was issued before the protests began; referring to an ugly anti-Islam film that was the focus of demonstrators, it condemned "those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious belief of others." [...]
At a news conference, Mr. Romney claimed that the administration had delivered "an apology for America's values." In fact, it had done no such thing: Religious tolerance, as much as freedom of speech, is a core American value. The movie that provoked the protests, which mocks the prophet Mohammed and portrays Muslims as immoral and violent, is a despicable piece of bigotry; it was striking that Mr. Romney had nothing to say about such hatred directed at a major religious faith.
Foreign Policy Hands Voice Disbelief At Romney Cairo Statement
"They were just trying to score a cheap news cycle hit based on the embassy statement and now it's just completely blown up," said a very senior Republican foreign policy hand, who called the statement an "utter disaster" and a "Lehman moment" -- a parallel to the moment when John McCain, amid the 2008 financial crisis, failed to come across as a steady leader.
He and other members of both parties cited the Romney campaign's recent dismissals of foreign policy's relevance. One adviser dismissed the subject to BuzzFeed as a "shiny object," while another told Politico that the subject was the "president's turf," drawing a rebuke from Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
"I guess we see now that it is because they're incompetent at talking effectively about foreign policy," said the Republican. "This is just unbelievable -- when they decide to play on it they completely bungle it." [..]
"It's bad," said a former aide to Senator John McCain's 2008 presidential campaign. "Just on a factual level that the statement was not a response but preceding, or one could make the case precipitating. And just calling it a 'disgrace' doesn't really cut it. Not ready for prime time."
A third Republican, a former Bush State Department official, told BuzzFeed, "It wasn't presidential of Romney to go political immediately -- a tragedy of this magnitude should be something the nation collectively grieves before politics enters the conversation."
All too often, the Romney campaign is looking like the team that can't shoot straight.
Also, here's a photo that people may find interesting: