"Their sacrifice will never be forgotten," Obama said at Andrews Air Force Base on September 14 as the remains of four Americans killed in the attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya were repatriated. A military band played the hymn "Nearer My God to Thee." As reported by the Associated Press, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's voice broke as she spoke, and she appeared to be fighting tears as she listened to the President speak. ""They knew the danger, and they accepted it," Obama said. "They didn't simply embrace the American ideal. They lived it," he said.
At about the same time, GOP VP candidate Rep. Paul Ryan was addressing the "Value Voters Summit" — a conference of right-wing activists sponsored by the Family Research Council, designated a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and the Human Rights Campaign (HRC).
SPLC and other civil rights organizations had urged politicians not to attend this year's summit, primarily because of the Family Research Council's (FRC) defamation of the LGBT community. The SPLC letter to prominent conservatives invited to speak at the "summit" noted that a spokesman for one of the "summit's" co-sponsors, the American Family Association (AFA) has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust.
Disturbingly ironic in the context of the violent protests in the Middle East, the FRC's executive director is retired Lt. General William "Jerry" Boykin, notorious for his assertion last year that "Islam is not a religion and does not deserve First Amendment protections."
Romney did not address the "summit" in person, although in a videotaped message he told the group "culture matters," and that he would "support the expression of religious faith in the public square." It was unclear whether that public expression would include the kind of protests that killed the four Americans in Libya.
Apparently Romney could not appear at the "summit" in person, because of a scheduled appearance on ABC's "Live with Kelly and Michael." Asked to choose between "Honey Boo Boo," whose reality TV program had better ratings than the GOP convention, and Snooki, star of MTV's "Jersey Shore," Romney confessed to being "kind-of a Snooki fan," citing her "sparkplug personality." Romney also revealed that his "guilty pleasure" is peanut butter sandwiches and chocolate milk.
Meanwhile, violent protests spread to nearly 20 countries including North Africa, South Asia, and Indonesia. "The United States of America will never retreat from the world. We will never stop working for the dignity and freedom that every person deserves," Obama said.