Politicians must pander, it goes with the job. But they mustn't leave their fingerprints all over their pandering. The Romney campaign's attempt to score political points on the killing of American diplomats was a dismal business in every respect. Disregarding every other aspect, however, it was graceless and stupid as a matter of politics.
The incident reminds of one other thing: the dangerously distorting effect of disrespect for one's political opponents.
Inside Team Romney, and among Romney's donors and core supporters, it may be taken absolutely for granted that Barack Obama is a weak-willed appeaser of radical Islam, a cringing apologizer for America who does not love the country the way "we" do. So why not say it loud, especially when you think you've just caught his administration doing it again? And then you discover the mistake only after the statement has departed the outbox.
(Romney's press conference can be viewed at MSNBC.)