Mitt Romney's campaign has sharply escalated its attacks on President Obama's "confusing" foreign policies, assailing the president for a series of issues ranging from the death of an ambassador in Libya to the president's refusal to meet with the Israeli prime minister.
A Romney adviser on international affairs used much harsher language Thursday night, calling Obama's administration "amateur hour."
Richard Williamson, Romney's foreign policy adviser, cited the anti-American protests by Muslims this past week that led to the death of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens, and Obama's statement this week that Egypt was not America's ally.
"There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation," Williamson told the Washington Post. "For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we've had an American ambassador assassinated."
Williamson suggested a lack of leadership was to blame for the protests that breached embassy walls in Libya, Egypt and Yemen. The American embassy in Tunisia was briefly invaded today. "We can't even protect American sovereign property," he told the newspaper.
"The president can't even keep track of who's our ally or not. This is amateur hour, it's amateur hour," he said.
Williamson was a special envoy to Sudan during the administration of President George W. Bush. During the Bush administration U.S. consulates in Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Yemen came under attack by angry Muslims.
Romney pressed the point with supporters during a fundraising event in New York City today, saying Obama was sending confusing messages to allies and to enemies.
"There's other reasons for confusion," Romney said, calling his refusal to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu later this month an "extraordinarily confusing and troubling decision."
"This is our closest ally and best friend in the Middle East. It stands between a nuclear Iran in some respects and a region that would have more stability without a nuclear Iran," Romney said.
"I don't know what the president is trying to send to the world in terms of a message, but it does send a message. It sends a message not just to Israel, but to the other nations throughout the Middle East. And in some respects it's a confusing message," Romney said.
He said it was the latest example of Obama's "confusing" policies.
"When Honduras and their supreme court removed the president of the country -- a pro-Marxist, anti-American president -- and he insisted, our president, President Barack Obama insisted he get put back. That sent a message to the world," Romney said, igniting applause from the 900 attendees.
"When demonstrators took to the streets of Iran, in Tehran, and our president had nothing to say, that sent a message to the world," said Romney.
"When in his first interview on television as the new president he sat down with Arabic TV and said that in the past America had dictated to other nations. That sent a message to the world," Romney said. "No, Mr. President, we did not dictate to other nations, we freed other nations from dictators."
Mitt Romney Assails President Obama's Foreign Policy
Earlier in the week, Romney came under fire from Obama and some Republicans for quickly accusing the Obama administration of apologizing to Islamic militants who invaded the U.S. embassy in Cairo. Romney's comments came the night that militants invaded a consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans.
The statement that Romney was citing had been issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo before the attacks occurred and were intended to condemn the movie's intolerant view of Islam.
Romney, however, did not back off his statement.
Today when asked about the movie, Romney said that "using something sacred and then parading that out in a negative way is simply inappropriate and wrong."
He acknowledged the film maker has a First Amendment right, "But it's not right to do things that are of the nature of what was done by, apparently this film," he said.