Larison weighs in on Romney's recklessness:
As a practical matter, this episode shows how useless Romney’s main foreign policy theme has been. According to Romney, Obama “apologizes for” America, and Romney won’t. He tried to shoehorn the embassy attacks into this frame, and it didn’t work for at least two reasons. First, Obama didn’t respond to the attacks by apologizing for anything or sympathizing with the attackers, as Romney’s original statement charged, so it was blatantly false. Romney’s position that the U.S. should never “apologize for” American values is almost beside the point. Would this have made any difference to the people assaulting the embassy in Cairo or the consulate in Benghazi? Would the attacks not have happened if Romney had been conducting his own brand of thoroughly unapologetic activist foreign policy? It seems unlikely.
Romney might have legitimately questioned the security arrangements for the consulate, for example, or he could have made the fair observation that Libya’s new government is very weak and Libya as a whole has serious security problems, but that wouldn’t have translated into the easy and satisfying point-scoring that Romney seems to prefer. It wouldn’t have fit his ready-made scheme of Obama-as-Carter, but it would have spared him of most of the ridicule he’s receiving now. Now instead of portraying Obama as Carter, he has presented himself as the bumbling McCain figure of 2012.
Chait further unpacks Romney's blunder:
The miscalculation at work here is that Romney believed his “Apology Tour” method would neatly fit the events at hand — take an event that sort of vaguely resembled an Obama apology to Muslims who don’t like us, twist it around, and call it a day. But Romney had grown accustomed to spinning fantasies cobbled together from months-old Obama speeches and nurtured into legend by extensive repetition and exaggeration in the conservative subculture. What he failed to realize from the outset was that the embassy attack was an immediate, high-profile event that he could not hope to rewrite so brazenly. Forced to confront the yawning chasm between reality and the fantasy he had wallowed in so long, Romney was exposed and, justifiably, discredited.