By David Jackson, USA TODAY
President Obama today condemned the "outrageous and shocking" attack in Libya that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other Americans, and said he has ordered beefed up security at other embassies.
"There is absolutely no justification for this kind of senseless violence," Obama said during brief remarks in the Rose Garden. "None."
In an apparent reference to the online anti-Muslim film reportedly sparked the violence, Obama said the United States rejects "all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others -- but there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence. None."
While praising the memory of slain ambassador Christopher Stevens, Obama said, "make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people."
Stevens' death is "especially tragic," Obama said, because he helped save Benghazi when it was under attack by the late dictator Moammar Gadhafi. After Gadhafi's fall, Stevens "built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya," Obama said.
The president also pointed out that "this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya" and that "Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans."
Obama spoke hours after issuing a written statement saying, "I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe."
Obama spoke in person alongside Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, who made a statement earlier saying that the attack in Benghazi "should shock the conscience of all faiths in the world." She said Hayes, saying he "gave his life trying to help build a better Libya."
In remarks at the State Department, Clinton also attributed to the attack to "a small, savage group" of protesters, not "the people of Libya."
Amid reporters that the anti-Muslin online film triggered the attackers, Clinton said "there is no justification for this -- none."
Neither Obama nor Clinton mentioned comments by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney about attacks in Egypt and Libya.
As reported by USA TODAY's OnPolitics blog, Romney said that an initial statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo seemed to have more sympathy for Muslims offended by the film than for Americans who were attacked.
"It's a terrible course for America to stand in apology for our values," Romney said.
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.