Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney is facing backlash for trying to pick a fight with President Barack Obama over his response to the deadly attack in Libya, and Republicans don't seem to have his back on this one.
Wednesday's campaign battle began over a statement released on Tuesday by the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, prior to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya. The statement, which was not authorized by the White House, apologized for the American-made anti-Muslim video that was posted to YouTube.
The effort apparently sought to quell growing outrage across the Middle East, but Romney seized upon the statement by issuing one of his own that blasted the release.
"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.
When Wednesday morning brought the news that U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens had been killed, Romney didn't back down.
"I also believe our administration was wrong to stand by a statement sympathizing with those who had breached our embassy in Egypt instead of condemning their actions," he said.
Almost immediately, news outlets were reporting widespread criticism of Romney for playing politics so soon after a tragedy -- and there was a notable absence of Republican leaders coming to his defense.
Rather, many leaders -- including well-respected conservative voices -- have criticized Romney for his remarks.
"I don't think Mr. Romney has been doing himself any favors in the past few hours -- perhaps since last night," Peggy Noonan said frankly.
The chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations chairman, John Kerry, said he believes Romney's statements were "inappropriate," and he urged the presidential hopeful to apologize.
"Gov. Romney's comments are about as inappropriate as anything I have ever seen at this kind of a moment," Kerry said. "They are flat wrong, but they demonstrate an insensitivity and a lack of judgment about what is happening right now. To make those kinds of statements before you even know the facts, before families have even been notified, before things have played out is really not just inexperienced. It's irresponsible. It's callous. It's reckless, and I think he ought to apologize -- and I don't think he knows what he's talking about, frankly."
A few prominent Republicans -- including Donald Rumsfeld, Newt Gingrich, and Reince Priebus -- took to Twitter to defend Romney's critique, but political analysts say the widespread lack of support illustrates a lack of faith in Romney's foreign policy stances.
Analyst Larry Jacobs told FOX 9 News he believes Romney's actions reflect where he now stands -- behind the president in national polls, and down by double digits when it comes to foreign policy.
"He seized on the tragedy in Libya to shake up the presidential race, where he's trailing," Jacobs explained. "But, it's always a major risk to try and make political hay out of a personal tragedy and he is suffering the consequences."
Obama has largely avoided commenting on Romney's criticism, but he did criticize Romney's foreign policy strategies during a taped interview with 60 minutes that was scheduled before the attacks in Libya.
"There's a broader lesson to be learned here: Gov. Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later," Obama said. "As president, one of the things I've learned is: You can't do that."