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Obama response to Egypt mob 'disgraceful'? Most Republicans steer clear.

Mitt Romney strongly criticized an Obama administration tweet about the protests that threatened the US embassy in Egypt. But most congressional Republicans struck a gentler tone. 

By Staff writer / September 12, 2012

Senate minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky, seen here on Capitol Hill in Washington on July 31, has so far refused to criticize the Obama administration for its response to attacks on an embassy in Egypt and a consulate in Libya.

J. Scott Applewhite/AP/File

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Washington

Republican congressional leaders fell out of step with their presidential candidate Wednesday, with most refusing to echo the sharp criticism voiced by Mitt Romney over the Obama administration's response to Egyptian protests at the US embassy in Cairo Tuesday.

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Instead, Republican leaders focused on Christopher Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya who was killed in an attack on the consulate in Benghazi, Libya, also on Tuesday. 

On Capitol Hill, flags were lowered to half mast in honor of Ambassador Stevens and three other Americans killed in the attack, and no partisan rancor was evident in either chamber. 

At their morning meeting on the floor of the Senate, majority leader Harry Reid (D) of Nevada and minority leader Mitch McConnell (R) of Kentucky traded none of their signature barbs Wednesday morning. 

“Yesterday we commemorated the anniversary of the attacks of Sept. 11, and today we are reminded that brave Americans serve us every day at the risk of their own lives,” Senator McConnell said. “We honor the Americans we lost in Libya, and we will stand united in our response.”

The comments stood in stark contrast to those of Mr. Romney, who said at a press conference in Jacksonville, Fla., that the White House "was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions."

"It's never too early for the United States Government to condemn attacks on Americans, and to defend our values," Romney said. "The White House distanced itself last night from the statement, saying it wasn't ‘cleared by Washington.’ That reflects the mixed signals they’re sending to the world."

That criticism came after the Romney campaign released a statement late Tuesday night that hit President Obama for a tweet from the US Embassy in Cairo that was sent before a mob attacked the embassy. That tweet, since deleted, reads in part: “We condemn the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.” The mob attacks in Cairo and Benghazi were reportedly sparked by an amateur film by an American, which depicts the Prophet Muhammad in a negative light.  

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