Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney eviscerated President Barack Obama over his handling of the Chen Guangcheng episode, calling it “a day of shame.”
Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol, however, thinks that speaking out on the controversy so soon was a bad decision by the Romney campaign. On Thursday’s “Special Report” on the Fox News Channel, Kristol explained why it was too soon for the former Massachusetts governor to go after Obama so aggressively.
“I mean, I’m happy to be critical of the Obama administration as anyone is, but I think this is an awfully fast-moving story,” Kristol said. “And if I were advising Gov. Romney, I would have said, ‘You don’t need to get in the middle of this story.’ If this turns out badly and I’m very afraid it will, it will be a terrible thing. It will turn out badly. People will know it turned out badly. It will be an indictment of Obama administration and Gov. Romney can say after Sec. Clinton flies out in 12 to 15 hours from now from Beijing, if it happens this way with Mr. Chen in Chinese custody with no agreement adhered to by the Chinese government, Gov. Romney can say, ‘I’m afraid this has gone very badly. This is really an indictment of the Obama administration.”
Kristol said it could be a symptom of Romney’s transition from a primary campaign to a general election campaign and he suggested that Romney’s team let this play out a little more.
“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,” Kristol continued. “He still has not — they are trying to transition from a primary campaign mode to a general election mode. In a primary campaign mode, [Rick] Santorum says something stupid, Iowa primary votes in five days — hit them, hit them right now.”
“There is no need to butt into with a fast-moving story when the Secretary of State is in Beijing in delicate negotiations and say, ‘It’s a day of shame for the Obama administion,’” he continued. “Hillary Clinton is waking up right now. Let’s see if she can pull this off in the next 12 hours or not.”