By Kathleen Hennessey, Tribune Washington Bureau –
GOLDEN, Colo. — President Barack Obama asked for resolve and support from voters despite the “disturbing images on television,” as he delivered grave warnings Thursday to terrorists.
“It’s a tumultuous time that we’re in,” Obama told a crowd at a campaign rally. “But we can and we will meet those challenges, if we stay true to who we are and if we remind ourselves that we’re different from other nations.”
Obama was campaigning in Colorado as footage of violent protests in North Africa and the Middle East filled cable news. The protests were purportedly sparked by an anti-Islam movie made in the United States and posted on YouTube. On Tuesday, protesters attacked the U.S. Consulate in Libya, leading to the death of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
Despite the brewing violence, Obama kept up his campaign schedule and tweaked the top of his stump speech to emphasize the dangers abroad and his role as commander in chief. Obama told the crowd in Colorado he would maintain the strength of the military in a second term. He vowed to protect U.S. personnel abroad and delivered a warning to enemies.
“I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished,” he said.
Obama’s GOP rival, Mitt Romney, has criticized the president’s response to the crisis. Romney said the administration sent mixed messages as the news spread of the attacks and “apologized” for the video rather than condemned the violence.
Obama hit back, saying Romney has a tendency to “shoot first and aim later.” He implicitly hit back at Republicans, who often claim the president does not believe the United States is exceptional.
‘We’re different not only because of the incredible landscape that God’s given us; we’re different because we’re a nation that’s bound together by a creed,” Obama said. “We’re not made up of a single tribe or single religion or a single race. We’re a collection of people from all around the world who came here because of a certain set of principles: the idea that all men and women are created equal, that we are all endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights.”