The anti-American protests breaking out across the Muslim world have catapulted the focus of the US presidential campaign away from the domestic agenda and into the area of foreign policy.
The unfolding crisis is seen as being detrimental to the Mitt Romney campaign. Analysts from both sides of the political divide believe only Obama can benefit from the current situation.
Opinion polls suggest Romney’s bid for the White House is faltering and the president’s lead can only increase over the coming months.
Aaron David Miller is from the pro-Republican the Woodrow Wilson Centre:
“Mitt Romney is forced to react, he doesn’t have all the information, he is under pressure, he is looking for a foreign policy issue to drive a wedge, to demonstrate that Obama is not a competent manager and he’s failed so far. His own party essentially has deserted him. The President on the other hand has all the advantages, being sober, measured and dignified and of course…the Rose Garden. This one played to the president’s advantage.”
Untested on the international stage Romney’s entire bid is based on the state of the US economy.
The Republicans wheeled out Sen. John McCain to slam Obama’s foreign policy as Romney moved back to his domestic comfort zone.
Michael O’Hanlon is a researcher at the pro-Democrat Brookings Institution:
“If it is going to hurt anybody, I think it will hurt Romney by making him look exactly like what Obama said it makes him look like, a guy who spoke too soon at a moment when the nation needs to come together.
The broader Islamic world is not enthralled by Obama anymore. His popularity levels there are comparable to George Bush’s. Many of the tactics that have been employed in pursuit of this effort have not panned out the way we hoped.
I don’t expect we’ll see a lot more riots in the short term, but I do think there will be damage that continues to result in the weeks ahead.”