This morning, President Obama made the type of mistake his campaign accused Mitt Romney of making when he said that Egypt wasn’t an ally or an enemy. Now they’re walking President Obama’s statement back:

In an interview with Telemundo Wednesday night, Obama said that the U.S. relationship with the new Egyptian government was a “work in progress,” and emphasized that the United States is counting on the government of Egypt to better protect the U.S. Embassy in Cairo, which was attacked by protesters on Sept. 11.

“I don’t think that we would consider them an ally, but we don’t consider them an enemy,” Obama said. “They’re a new government that is trying to find its way. They were democratically elected. I think that we are going to have to see how they respond to this incident.”

It didn’t take long before the administration ‘clarified’ President Obama’s statement:

White House spokesman Tommy Vietor told The Cable Thursday that the administration is not signaling a change in that status.

“I think folks are reading way too much into this,” Vietor said. “‘Ally’ is a legal term of art. We don’t have a mutual defense treaty with Egypt like we do with our NATO allies. But as the president has said, Egypt is longstanding and close partner of the United States, and we have built on that foundation by supporting Egypt’s transition to democracy and working with the new government.”

During a crisis, communications must be clear. There’s no room for creativity. What’s needed is surefootedness based on a strong grasp of the situation.

Clearly, President Obama isn’t surefooted. Clearly, he didn’t grasp the gravity of the situation. Clearly, his reckless statements happened because he didn’t discipline himself to be in crisis mode.

Four years into his administration, President Obama hasn’t proven that he’ll respond properly to crises. When riots broke out after the rigged elections in Iran, President Obama sided with Ahmedinejad, not the protesters.

This time, when violence erupted in Cairo, President Obama couldn’t figure out what the official position of his administration was towards a major nation in the Middle East. That’s proof that he didn’t think things through on Middle East policy. That’s inexcusable.

President Obama’s crisis management has been woefully inadequate. That’s what the media should be focused on, not on the things Mitt Romney said. If the media wants to critique Mitt Romney’s statements, that’s appropriate after the crisis is over.

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