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Government and Politics

Ohio's senators respond to Libyan attack united yet divided
Brown questions Romney's accusation that that administration sided with attackers; Portman agrees with it
This story is part of a special series.

Web Editor
M.L. Schultze
In The Region:

Ohio’s congressional delegation and senators were united in expressing condolences to the families of the U.S. ambassador and three others killed in the attack on a consulate in Libya today. But WKSU’s M.L. Schultze reports that they showed political divisions as well.

Ohio sentators' response

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Ohio’s two U.S. senators were calling this morning for a measured response to the attacks on the consulate and a similar one on the embassy in Cairo.

But they showed some slightly different reads early on who should be included in that response.

U.S. Sen. Rob Portman, a Republican:

“With regard to these specific attacks we need to go after the perpetrators and hold them responsible. The government of Egypt and the government of Libya need to ensure that these folks are held accountable. And they also need to do a better job of protecting American soil just as we protect their embassies here in the United States.”


Sen. Sherrod Brown, a Democrat said a lot still needs to be known.

“If it is a terrorist act as we think, we should deal with it that way. And I look to the president as we always do in that situation, not to second guess, not to politicize, but for leadership, and I think the president so far has shown that.”

As word of the Libyan attack was breaking, President Obama’s opponent, Mitt Romney, accused the administration of apologizing for America’s values and sympathizing with the attackers. That was because of a statement the Egyptian embassy issued before the attacks. It was based on a video posted on the internet that portrayed the prophet Mohammed as a buffoon and a pedophile, and rejecting religious intolerance.

Brown says Romney was out of line.

“It was inappropriate on something like this to be critical of the president of the United States so quickly and so immediately of something happening like this.”

But Portman saw it differently.

“Of course I agree with him. I think pretty much all Americans would. We shouldn’t be apologizing for this. The United States government did nothing wrong. We should instead be saying this is outrageous, unacceptable and that those responsible ought to be held accountable. So I don’t think its politicizing it. I think it’s just common sense.”

Romney has also defended his statement. And President Obama issued a statement after the Libyan attack strongly condemning “the senseless violence.”


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