Mitt Romney's campaign is not backing off the candidate's criticism of President Barack Obama's foreign policy approach in the wake of this week's attacks on United States diplomatic missions overseas.
In an interview with the Washington Post's Philip Rucker, Richard Williamson, a top foreign policy adviser to the Republican presidential nominee, suggested the deadly protests that claimed the life of Chris Stevens, the American ambassador to Libya, and three other U.S. diplomatic aides would not have happened if Romney were president.
"There's a pretty compelling story that if you had a President Romney, you'd be in a different situation," Williamson, who served as former President George W. Bush's ambassador to the United Nations, told the Post. "For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we've had an American ambassador assassinated.
"In Egypt and Libya and Yemen, again demonstrations, the respect for America has gone down," Williamson added. "There's not a sense of American resolve, and we can't even protect sovereign American property."
That's much tougher rhetoric than Romney exhibited on the campaign trail Thursday, when he indirectly criticized Obama by suggesting the U.S. was "at the mercy of events instead of shaping events" overseas. If elected, Romney vowed, he would renew "American leadership" to the Middle East.
"The world needs American leadership. The Middle East needs American leadership," Romney said. "And I intend to be a president that provides the leadership that America respects and will keep us admired throughout the world."