Obama doubles down on criticism of Romney reaction to embassy riots

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Romney's criticism centered on a statement by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo that condemned “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims" and rejected "the actions by those who abuse the universal right of free speech to hurt the religious beliefs of others.”

Romney said that the statement amounted to an apology for American values and said it was an inappropriate first response to the violence, but drew fire after it was revealed the statement from the embassy was issued some five hours before protesters began gathering outside.

In his Telemundo interview Obama pledged to continue U.S. economic aid to the Middle East, even as some on Capitol Hill have suggested cutting financial support as a response to the attacks.

“The Unites States doesn't have an option of withdrawing from the world, and we're the one indispensable nation," Obama said. "Countries all around the world look to us for leadership, even countries where sometimes you experience protests, and so it's important for us to stay engaged.”

At the same time, the president offered a lukewarm characterization of relations with Egypt.

“I don't think that we would consider them an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy," Obama said. "They're a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected … If they take actions that indicate they're not taking responsibility, as all other countries do where we have embassies, I think that's going to be a real big problem.”

Similarly, Obama pledged to seek justice for the four foreign service officers killed in Libya, but acknowledged the challenges of operating with the new Libyan government.

“I hope it's to be able to capture [the perpetrators], but we're going to have to obviously cooperate with the Libyan government and I have confidence that we will stay on this relentlessly," Obama said.