WASHINGTON — Mitt Romney, in a series of television interviews that began Sunday night on CBS’s “60 Minutes,” repeatedly criticized President Obama on Monday over the unrest in the Middle East, saying the president was wrong to use the phrase “bumps in the road’’ in his reaction to the strife.
“His indication that developments in the Middle East represent bumps in the road is a very different view than I have,” Romney told ABC News. “I can’t imagine saying something like the assassination of ambassadors is a bump in the road.”
During his segment that was paired with Romney’s on “60 Minutes,” Obama said that “there are going to be bumps in the road because . . . in a lot of these places the one organizing principle has been Islam.”
Obama was responding to a question about recent events in the Middle East, and whether it gave him pause about how his administration has handled the Arab Spring, the political upheaval that has toppled several dictators and laid bare sectarian and religious animosities. Obama did not directly reference the attacks in Libya, which killed four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens and Glen Doherty, a former Navy SEAL from Winchester, Mass.
“He’s purposely misinterpreting the president’s words and making reckless statements about the death of four Americans in Libya, apparently for the sole purpose of his own political gain,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Lis Smith.
Following the “60 Minutes” interview, which featured lengthy interviews with Romney and Obama, the Romney campaign has been forcefully adopting a new, more rigorous tone on foreign policy. Romney also referenced the “bumps in the road” comment during a rally in Pueblo, Colo., Monday.
Obama and Romney are both traveling to New York on Tuesday to appear at the Clinton Global Initiative, which is being run by former president Bill Clinton. Obama is also addressing the opening session of the United Nations General Assembly.
Republicans have noted that the president won’t hold any private meetings with world leaders, but has found time for an appearance on the daytime television show “The View.”
— MATT VISER
Senator Olympia Snowe to write book about life, political paralysis
NEW YORK — Senator Olympia Snowe plans a few words about politics even after leaving office.
The Maine Republican, who has cited Washington’s partisan atmosphere as a key reason she is stepping down this year, has a deal with Weinstein Books for a publication due out in the spring. Weinstein is billing the book, currently untitled, as a ‘‘memoir and call to action.’’
‘‘The point is that elected officials have a responsibility to take on the issues that are confronting the nation,’’ Snowe, who plans to work on her book with a collaborator, said by phone Monday.
Snowe and fellow Maine Senator Susan Collins have long been moderate Republicans, an increasingly marginalized part of the party. Snowe, a consistent vote-winner for decades, shocked Maine’s political establishment in February when she announced she would not seek reelection.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS
Paul Ryan denounces president over China policy
LIMA, Ohio — Kicking off a three-day bus tour that the Romney campaign hopes will jump-start its campaign in a critical swing state, Paul Ryan tore into the Obama administration’s China policies, as Republicans signaled they would step up attacks in a state that has lost manufacturing jobs to overseas factories.
“We need to get countries to play fair with us,” Ryan told an enthusiastic crowd of several thousand supporters at a civic center in a city in the northwest part of the state known for producing military tanks and, more recently, as the setting for the TV show “Glee.”
Ryan accused the administration of failing to stop Chinese currency manipulation and intellectual property theft and vowed a tougher approach if Mitt Romney is elected. Recent polls, including one published Sunday by a consortium of Ohio newspapers, have shown the former Massachusetts governor slightly behind Obama in the Buckeye State, which some analysts see as a must-win for Romney.
— ASSOCIATED PRESS