Ambassador Susan Rice’s explanation of the events unfolding in the Middle East, as told to ABC News’ Jake Tapper:
Jake, we’re not impotent. We’re not even less popular, to challenge that assessment. I don’t know on what basis you make that judgment…It’s actually the opposite. First of all, let’s be clear about what transpired this week. In Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region, was a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting. We have also been very clear that there is no excuse for violence, we have condemned it in the strongest possible terms.
But let’s look at what’s happened. It’s quite the opposite of being impotent. We have worked with the government in Egypt. President Obama picked up the phone and talked to President Morsi in Egypt and as soon as he did that the security provided to the personnel in our embassies dramatically increased. President Morsi has been out repeatedly and said that he condemns this violence and his people have called off any further demonstrations and have made very clear that this has to stop.
In Tunisia, in Yemen, and of course in Libya where the government has gone out of its way to try to step up security and express its deepest remorse for what has happened, we are quite popular in Libya as you might expect, having been a major partner in their revolution, what transpired outside of our consultate in Benghazi was expression of deep-seated anti-Americanism on the part of the Libyan people – quite the contrary, the counter-demonstrations, the outpouring of sympathy and support for Ambassador Stevens and for the United States. The government of Libya and the people on the streets saying how pained they are by this is much more a reflection of the sentiment toward the United States than a small handful of heavily armed mobsters.