"This tragic attack takes place at a time of turmoil and protest in many different countries. I have made it clear that the United States has a profound respect for people of all faiths. We stand for religious freedom. And we reject the denigration of any religion -- including Islam," he said.
"Yet there is never any justification for violence," he said. "There is no religion that condones the targeting of innocent men and women. There is no excuse for attacks on our Embassies and Consulates. And so long as I am Commander-in-Chief, the United States will never tolerate efforts to harm our fellow Americans."
In the Republican response, Rep. Allen West, R-Fla., called the attacks "stark, horrific reminders that freedom remains under siege by forces who relish terror and violence over freedom and free expression. Remember how critical it is that the United States projects strength, that we remain vigilant and resolute in the defense of our liberties and way of life."
He went on to criticize the president for not speaking out against massive defense cuts that would automatically take effect next year as part of a broader reduction in spending agreed to by White House and Republicans in 2011 in exchange for raising the nation's debt ceiling.
Ambassador Stevens, a graduate of the University of California at Berkley, was remembered today with a moment of silence before the Ohio State-Cal football game.