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Obama Says Romney ‘Didn’t Have His Facts Right’ in Criticism

President Barack Obama said Republican challenger Mitt Romney “didn’t have his facts right” when he criticized the administration’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic outposts in Egypt and Libya.

Romney “seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later,” Obama told CBS’s “60 Minutes” program today. “And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that.”

Asked whether Romney’s criticism was irresponsible, Obama said, “I’ll let the American people judge that.”

The president spoke to CBS’s “60 Minutes” program in a previously scheduled interview recorded shortly after Obama condemned an attack that killed four U.S. embassy personnel in Libya and following statements by Romney, a former Massachusetts governor. Excerpts were posted on CBS’s website and White House press secretary Jay Carney quoted for reporters from other portions of the interview.

“There are times when we set politics aside,” Carney quoted Obama as saying. “It appears that Governor Romney didn’t have his facts right.”

In a campaign statement last night and in remarks earlier today, Romney accused the Obama administration of issuing an apology to Egyptian protesters. Romney was referring to a statement issued by the U.S. embassy in Cairo that was intended to ease tensions over an anti-Muslim film and was released hours before attacks broke out there and in Libya.

‘Terrible Course’

“It’s a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values,” the Republican presidential candidate said at a press conference today in Jacksonville, Florida. “Instead, when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, the first response of the Unites States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation.”

The embassy statement condemned “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims -- as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions.” It also said, “Respect for religious beliefs is a cornerstone of American democracy.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Roger Runningen in Washington at rrunningen@bloomberg.net; Julianna Goldman in Washington at jgoldman6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Steven Komarow at skomarow1@bloomberg.net

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