GOLDEN, Colo. - President Obama today sought to project an unabashed commitment to the nation's values, telling supporters here that he is resolved to defend them in the face of terrorism and violence, as his campaign rival accuses him of "apologizing" for America.
"I want people around the world to hear me, to all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world," Obama said. "No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America."
The president said his administration is determined to bring to justice the killers of four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and would continue to speak out for democracy and human rights.
"That's what binds us together. That's what our flag means," Obama said. "We also believe that these are not just American rights. We believe these are universal aspirations."
He added that the county's primary task is to "to defend and protect and advance our people, but also to defend and protect and advance those values at home and around the world.
"That's what our troops do. That's what our diplomats do. That's what our intelligence officers do. That's what our citizens do. That's what we believe. Those are the values that we hold to," he said.
In keeping with a slightly more subdued tone that he set Wednesday night at a campaign rally in Las Vegas, President Obama did not mention rival Mitt Romney by name. But his remarks on the Libya incident were clearly directed at criticism Romney leveled against the president Wednesday.
The Republican presidential nominee said it was "disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."
He referred to a statement put out by the U.S. embassy in Cairo before the attacks began, including, "We firmly reject the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others." It was not approved by administration officials in Washington.
"The president takes responsibility not just for the words that come from his mouth but also the words that come from his ambassadors, from his administration, from his embassies, from his state department," Romney said. "They clearly sent mixed messages to the world and the statement … is akin to an apology."