Rep. Peter King (R-NY) found himself being grilled by CNN host Soledad O’Brien on Monday about the claim President Barack Obama had gone on an “apology tour” — and the congressman was unable to name a single instance in which the president had apologized for the United States.
After the U.S. embassy in Cairo condemned an anti-Muslim film that mocked the prophet Muhammad and led to protests and the death of the U.S. ambassador to Libya last week, GOP hopeful Mitt Romney accused Obama of “sympathizing” with the enemy. And other Republicans quickly followed by reviving a debunked claim that the president had spent part of his first term going on an “apology tour.”
During a Monday interview on CNN, O’Brien called out King over the assertion that the attacks in Libya were a “logical result” of the president’s apologies.
“Where do you see an apology?” O’Brien wondered. “You called it an apology tour. You said, ‘the apologies.’ What apologies are you specifically talking about?”
“I would say when he was in Cairo in 2009, when he was basically apologizing for American policies, saying American policies sometimes had gone too far,” King explained.
“Never once in that speech, as you know, which I have the speech right here, he never once used the word apology,” O’Brien pointed out. “He never once said, ‘I’m sorry.’”
“Any logical reading of that speech or the speech he gave in France, in which he said the United States can be too aggressive,” King insisted.
“But that’s not apology,” O’Brien pressed. “But everybody keeps talking about this apology tour and apologies from the president and I’m trying to find the words ‘I’m sorry, I apologize’ in any of those speeches, which I have the text of all those speeches in front of me. None of those speeches at all, and if you go to Factcheck.org, which we check in a lot, they’ll say the same thing. They fact check this…”
“I don’t care what FactCheck[.org] says!” King exclaimed.
“They’re a fact checker,” the CNN host laughed. “But they’re a fact checker and I’m reading the speeches.”
“Any common-sense interpretation of those speeches, the president is apologizing for the American position,” King shot back. “That’s an apology tour.”
“I think plenty of people are interpreting it as a nuanced approached to diplomacy,” O’Brien observed.
“That’s where we have an honest difference of opinion,” King concluded.
An Associated Press fact check last week determined that President Obama never apologized for the United States or expressed sympathy for the people who attacked the U.S. embassy in Libya.
“The claim that Obama repeatedly has apologized for the United States is not borne out by the facts, especially if his full quotes are viewed in context,” Washington Post fact checkers wrote in 2011. “Note to GOP speechwriters and campaign ad makers: The apology tour never happened.”
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Sept. 17, 2012.