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Sept. 12, 2012 at 10:06 PM   |   Comments

Obama: Romney shoots first, aims later

JACKSONVILLE, Fla., Sept. 12 (UPI) -- President Barack Obama said Wednesday Mitt Romney's reaction to attacks on State Department posts in Africa shows "a tendency to shoot first and aim later."

Romney has drawn criticism from both parties for his comments after protesters attacked U.S. diplomatic facilities in Egypt and Libya, the attack in Libya resulting in the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.

The attacks were part of a protest of a U.S.-made film that depicts the Prophet Muhammad in a harshly negative light. The U.S. Embassy in Cairo issued a statement Tuesday condemning the film and what it called "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims."

The statement did not condemn the attacks on the embassy and the White House later said the statement issued from Cairo was not authorized by the administration. Several media outlets reported the Cairo statement critical of the movie was issued before the protests.

"The statement by Embassy Cairo was not cleared by Washington and does not reflect the views of the United States government," an administration official told Politico.

Initially, Romney said in a statement Tuesday he was "outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It's disgraceful that the Obama administration's first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks."

Romney said the Cairo embassy issued the statement after the compound was breached.

"I think it's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," he said. "That instead, when our grounds are being attacked and being breached, that the first response of the United States must be outrage at the breach of the sovereignty of our nation. An apology for America's values is never the right course."

Speaking at a campaign event in Jacksonville, Fla., Romney said the United States will "defend also our constitutional rights of speech and assembly and religion."

In an interview with CBS News' "60 Minutes," the president declined to say Romney's criticism was "irresponsible," saying he would "let the American people decided that."

"There's a broader lesson to be learned here," Obama said. "Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I've (learned) is you can't do that. That, uh, you know, it's important to make sure that the statements are backed up by the facts and that you've thought through the ramifications before you make them."

Republican congressional leaders and foreign policy figures Wednesday condemned the attacks in Cairo and Benghazi but generally did not join Romney in criticizing the administration, Politico reported.

Peggy Noonan, a conservative opinion writer for The Wall Street Journal, said on Fox News Romney has not "been doing himself any favors, say in the past few hours, perhaps since last night." However, William Kristol, editor of the conservative Weekly Standard, said Romney should "reject the counsel of the mainstream media, which is to keep quiet and give Obama a pass," Politico reported.

Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton both condemned the violence in Benghazi, with the president vowing Wednesday "justice would be done."

"Make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers of our people," Obama said in a statement Wednesday.


Young immigrants in U.S. getting notices

WASHINGTON, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The Department of Homeland Security has begun mailing work permits to young illegal immigrants brought to the United States as children, officials say.

Peter Boogaard, a spokesman for the department, told the Los Angeles Times he is unsure how many immigrants have been approved to remain in the country, at least temporarily, under the Obama administration's Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals. Officials say 72,000 applications have already poured in since the program took effect Aug. 15.

Boogaard said every application is receiving a "thorough individualized case review," the newspaper reported Wednesday.

The program allows those who arrived in the country before the age of 16 and are now no older than 31 to remain for at least two years. They must meet education and work requirements.


Thunderstorms, rain hit Calif., Nev., Utah

LAS VEGAS, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Parts of Nevada, Utah and Southern California Wednesday struggled with the aftermath of storms that dumped a foot or more of rain and left a man missing.

A line of slow-moving storms dumped record amounts of rain on Las Vegas, the National Weather Service reported. The precipitation was the highest ever recorded in the city in September, the Las Vegas Sun said.

Metro Police said a landscaper operating a front-end loader at the Desert Rose Golf Course in Las Vegas was believed to have been swept away in flood waters that swept through the course, the Sun said. The front-end loader was found in 12 feet of water.

At least 50 drivers had to be rescued from cars trapped by flooding in Clark County, the Sun reported. Firefighters advised residents to evacuate one neighborhood because of fear the flooding could set off electrical fires.

Rainfall was also heavy in southern Utah, with the National Weather Service reporting on its Web site that one area got 3 feet of rain by early Wednesday morning and others more than a foot. More storms were in Wednesday's forecast.

In Santa Clara, Utah, an earthen dam at a retention pond collapsed Tuesday afternoon. Officials said 10 to 15 houses were flooded as water from the pond raced toward the Santa Clara River, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

More than 5 inches of rain fell in the Coachella Valley in Southern California, causing widespread street flooding, The Desert Sun reported. Mari Tarango, a spokeswoman for the Coachella Valley Unified School District, said three schools affected by flooding managed to stay open, doubling up classes when necessary because some areas were underwater.


Actors in anti-Islam video 'shocked'

LOS ANGELES, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- The cast and crew on a film blamed for inciting protests at U.S. State Department posts in Libya and Egypt say they were "grossly misled" by the producer.

The 80 actors and crew members of "Innocence of Muslims" said in a statement Wednesday they are "extremely upset and feel taken advantage of by the producer," CNN reported.

"We are 100 percent not behind this film and were grossly misled about its intent and purpose," the statement said. "We are shocked by the drastic re-writes of the script and lies that were told to all involved. We are deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred."

Cindy Lee Garcia of Bakersfield, Calif., told Gawker.com she was hired to act in the film, but she and the rest of the cast had been told the project was about life in Egypt 2,000 years ago.

"It wasn't based on anything to do with religion, it was just on how things were run in Egypt," she said. "There wasn't anything about Muhammad or Muslims or anything."

Garcia said she was cast in the project after answering a casting call on Craigslist in July 2011 and was given a script with the title, "Desert Warriors."

"Muhammad wasn't even called Muhammad," she said. "He was 'Master George.'"

She said the dialogue in the online trailer is overdubbed, with the word "Muhammad," as well as several offensive references to Islam, inserted in place of the original dialogue.

The producer of the film, who has been identified as Sam Bacile, has been unavailable for media inquiries and there are reports he is in hiding.

"I'm going to sue his butt off," Garcia said.


Biden: We 'won't be run off' in Libya

FAIRBORN, Ohio, Sept. 12 (UPI) -- Vice President Joe Biden, stumping in Ohio Wednesday, said the United States "will not be run off" by attacks like the one at the consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Speaking to several hundred people at Wright State University in Fairborn, Biden expressed his sorrow and prayers for the four Americans killed in Libya and their families, WDTN-TV, Dayton, reported.

"Let me be clear, we are resolved to bring to justice their killers," he said. "We never have been, and will not be run off. Period. That's not who we are."

During his 30-minute speech, Biden also told the crowd the Obama administration is working to build a nation "the world can look at and aspire to." He reiterated the Obama campaign's vow to create a million new manufacturing jobs by 2016, to take away corporate advantages for moving jobs overseas and to protect Medicare.

At one point the vice president called the school where he was speaking "Wayne State." People in the Wright State crowd quickly corrected him.

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