Nor has Obama ceded any territory. Speeches and video presentations at last week's Democratic National Convention were heavily stocked with references to the daring raid the president ordered more than a year ago that resulted in the death of terrorist mastermind Osama bin Laden.
Romney, on Wednesday, defended his decision to issue his criticism Tuesday night, at a time it was not yet known that Stevens had been killed. Asked if he would have done so had he been aware of the deaths, he said, "I'm not going to take hypotheticals about what would have been known and so forth."
Gordon Johndroe, a national security aide during George W., Bush's presidency, said Romney's reaction as a candidate was quicker than he would be able to make if he were president.
"Events happen quickly but the information at first is very vague and uncertain. You don't know who has done the attack, how many people, who was attacked, were people just injured or killed. It takes a while for information to come through, and you have to be very careful and cautious when responding."
While Obama initially chose not to respond to Romney, he shed his reluctance later in the day and compared Romney's reaction unfavorably to the way many other Republicans responded.
"And so I think if you look at how most Republicans have reacted, most elected officials, they reacted responsibly," Obama said. "Waiting to find out the facts before they talked, making sure that our No. 1 priority is the safety, the security of American personnel. It appears that Gov. Romney didn't have his facts right."
Top Republican leaders in Congress did not come to Romney's defense as they — like the GOP challenger and the president — mourned the deaths of the fallen diplomats.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said Obama "correctly tightened the security overseas." Asked about Romney's remarks, he declined to answer and walked toward his office in the Capitol.
House Speaker John Boehner issued a brief statement condemning the violence against the U.S., as did Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia, but neither included any reference to the president.
The Senate late Wednesday passed a resolution commending the four Americans who died in Benghazi "for their tireless efforts on behalf of the American people."
Romney's account didn't mesh completely with events in Cairo.
The embassy statement that he referred to as akin to apology was issued by the embassy in Cairo at midday on Tuesday at a time the staff was aware of still-peaceful demonstrations in the area nearby. It was four or five hours later when the mob breached the compound's walls and tried to burn a U.S. flag.
The embassy statement condemned "the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims — as we condemn efforts to offend believers of all religions," and noted that religious freedom is a cornerstone of American democracy.
Romney added that the White House later "distanced itself" from the statement, saying it hadn't been cleared by senior officials in Washington. "That reflects the mixed signals they're sending to the world."
Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, in an interview later in the day, also said the initial statement had come as the embassy was under attack. "I disagree with the original statements that the embassy put out — that the administration put out in Cairo sympathizing with the people who were storming the embassy. We should stand up for our values," he said.
While top Republican leaders in Congress avoided criticism of Obama, other GOP lawmakers were not as reluctant.
Sen. Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., noted the timing of the events and said, "America has suffered as a result of President Obama's failure to lead and his failed foreign policy of appeasement and apology."
Rep. Howard P. (Buck) McKeon of California said: "Again and again under President Obama we have met threats and thugs with apologies and concessions. Unsurprisingly, these mobs aren't satisfied with apologies any more. They have clearly been escalating the offensive in the war of ideas for some time."