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CNN Contrasts Romney's 'Mixed Messages' With Obama Honoring Fallen Diplomats

In an obvious contrast between the two presidential campaigns, CNN's Jim Acosta highlighted both Mitt Romney's frivolous talk show interview and his campaign's "sharpened rhetoric" on Friday and pitted them against President Obama giving a solemn tribute to the slain diplomats from Libya.

Acosta did note Romney's moment of silence for the diplomats at his campaign rally, but cast that as a "brief pause in his campaign's sharpened rhetoric." The Obama camp's Twitter account was active both shortly before and after the ceremony for the diplomats, but CNN focused instead on Romney's "day of mixed messages."

[Video below. Audio here.]

"The rhetorical jabs came as the President paid tribute to the slain diplomats as their bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base," reported Acosta, implying a contrast between the two candidates.

Acosta also included material from a "light-hearted" interview that isn't scheduled to air until next week, where Romney told daytime talk show host Kelly Ripa that he is "kind of a Snooki fan" and wears "as little as possible" to bed. Acosta reported the interview just after noting Obama's appearance at the tribute for the diplomats.

A transcript of the segment, which aired on September 14 on The Situation Room at 4:31 p.m. EDT, is as follows:

(Video Clip)

JIM ACOSTA: (voice over) At a rally in Ohio, Mitt Romney set aside his attacks on President Obama's foreign policy to remember the U.S. Ambassador and three Americans who lost their lives in Libya.

MITT ROMNEY, Republican presidential candidate: And I'd ask that you might each place your hand over your heart in recognition of the blood shed for freedom by them and by our other sons and daughters who've lost their lives in the cause of America, in the cause of liberty. And if we'll take a moment of silence together.

ACOSTA: The moment of silence was only a brief pause in his campaign's sharpened rhetoric. Earlier in the day, running mate Paul Ryan suggested the President was showing a weakness on the world stage that invited the diplomatic attacks.

PAUL RYAN, Republican vice presidential candidate: They are extremists who operate by violence and intimidation. And the least equivocation or mixed signal only makes them bolder.

ACOSTA: On CNN, a senior campaign adviser claimed the violence would have been prevented under a President Romney, saying he would have been more engaged in the Arab Spring.

RICHARD WILLIAMSON, senior foreign policy adviser, Romney campaign: So we would be partners in this evolution, not running behind and not seeing as part of that. I think that changes the dynamic. And so yes, there would be a difference.

ACOSTA: At a New York fund raiser, Romney slammed the President for not planning to meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu at the start of the United Nations General Assembly next week. Romney said "It sends a message not just to Israel but throughout the Middle East. And in some respects it's a confusing message."

The rhetorical jabs came as the President paid tribute to the slain diplomats as their bodies arrived at Andrews Air Force Base. Despite his campaign's serious posture, Romney and his wife took time to make some light-hearted comments to daytime talk show host Kelly Ripa in a taped interview that's slated to air next week.

Romney weighed in on MTV's reality show Jersey Shore, saying "I'm kind of a Snooki fan. Look how tiny she's gotten. She's lost weight. She's energetic. Just her spark-plug personality is kind of fun." Ann Romney talked about how she once walked in on former President George W. Bush getting a massage in the White House. And when asked what he wears to bed, the GOP nominee disclosed, "as little as possible."

(End Video Clip)

ACOSTA: The Romney campaign is signaling that all this tough talk on foreign policy is only the beginning, and it comes as some polls show that he is falling behind in key battleground states like this one that we're in right now in Ohio. As one senior Romney adviser put it to me earlier this week, Wolf, it's a good thing that elections aren't held right after the conventions. 

-- Matt Hadro is a News Analyst at the Media Research Center