Word seems to be getting around that presumed Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney goofed badly when he accused the Obama administration of creating a “a dark day for freedom and … a day of shame” by allegedly encouraging Chinese dissident Chen Guangcheng to leave the U.S. embassy in Beijing.
Abby Huntsman Livingston — the daughter of former Republican candidate Jon Huntsman, who previously served as U.S. ambassador to China — criticized Obama sharply for not doing more to ensure Chen’s safety. However she also described Romney as “very foolish” for wading into the issue when “he really didn’t have really any facts yesterday about what was going on.”
Conservative pundit Bill Kristol spoke in much the same terms, telling Fox News on Thursday, “If I were advising Governor Romney, I would have said to him, ‘You don’t need to get into the middle of this story.'”
Kristol suggested that if the matter turns out badly, Romney can justifiably criticize the Obama administration, but “to inject yourself into the middle of it this way, though, when there are all kinds of negotiations going on and a fast-moving target, I think is foolish.”
On Friday, Romney appeared to be attempting to soften his position. Administration officials have stated that they never pressured Chen to leave the embassy and that Chinese officials have indicated a willingness to allow him and his family to go to the United States.
Video uploaded to YouTube by Think Progress on May 4, 2012.