Capitol reporter Mary Wilson covers Pennsylvania politics and issues at the Pennsylvania state capitol.
(Harrisburg) -- Pennsylvania's junior U.S. Senator is joining in the Republican attacks on the Obama Administration's explanation about the terrorist attack in Libya.
At a Press Club luncheon in Harrisburg Monday, Republican Pat Toomey said he was dismayed to hear President Obama say in the last presidential debate that he publicly acknowledged the attack on a U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya was a terrorist act in his first address to the country from the White House Rose Garden.
“If he were convinced, and wanted to tell the American people that this was a terrorist attack, why did he refuse to do so when questioned on Univision?” said Toomey. “Why did he send out his U.S. ambassador to go on five national talk shows the following Sunday to insist that it was all in reaction to a video?”
The Obama administration has maintained that it explained the origins and motives behind the attack in Libya as intelligence reports came in. Mr. Obama has criticized the Romney campaign for attempting to politicize the incident.
Toomey said he’ll watch for Gov. Mitt Romney to show how his own vision of foreign policy contrasts with that of the president. He said Romney appreciates the importance of American leadership abroad – a role that doesn't necessarily mean the country leads by military might, Toomey said, but through trade agreements, and voicing support for democratic movements.
The Republican senator also sounded off on the commonwealth’s relevance to the Romney campaign. Pennsylvania is on the sidelines when it comes to the presidential candidates and their TV advertising dollars.
Toomey said he thinks the Romney campaign is watching Pennsylvania very closely – but he suggested it’s simply too soon for Romney to start campaigning in earnest in the commonwealth. He said it makes sense the Republican candidate would first shore up his support in states that allow early voting.
“Pennsylvania is one of the last states in America to vote because we vote on Election Day. Most states start voting well before Election Day,” said Toomey. “We don’t allow any in-person voting prior to Election Day. We do have an absentee ballot program, naturally, but [there are] lots of states that actually allow to show up and cast a vote anytime you like well before the election.”
Pennsylvania’s Republican establishment has insisted the state is still very much in play. Vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan made a campaign stop in Pittsburgh last weekend. It was one of only a handful of visits to the state by the GOP ticket.
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