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Libya attack political fallout: Obama as Carter? Romney as Nixon?

In the hardball politics of this presidential campaign, President Obama is being likened to Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney to Richard Nixon – former presidents their parties keep out of sight.

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Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney makes comments on the killing of U.S. embassy officials in Benghazi, Libya, while speaking in Jacksonville, Fla., on Wednesday.

Charles Dharapak/AP

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In this week’s political fight over the killing of the US ambassador in Libya, the two presidential candidates are being likened to White House predecessors they’d just as soon avoid: Barack Obama to Jimmy Carter and Mitt Romney to Richard Nixon.

It’s hardball campaign politics, of course, less surprising perhaps with the Obama-Carter comparison.

As he was fighting to get re-elected in 1980, Mr. Carter as commander-in-chief had to deal with the Iran hostage crisis – 52 Americans held for 444 days when militants took over the US Embassy in Tehran. Carter ordered a rescue mission that failed, killing eight US service personnel.

“For the first time since Jimmy Carter, we’ve had an American ambassador assassinated,” Romney foreign policy adviser Richard Williamson told the Washington Post. (The reference is to Adolph Dubs, US ambassador to Afghanistan, killed in a kidnapping attempt in 1979.)

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