When protests in Bengazi, Libya and Cairo, Egypt turned into deadly attacks on both an American consulate and a U.S. embassy, on the anniversary of the worst terrorist attacks in American history? It was obvious that another foreign policy challenge was heating up in the Middle East, for the United States.
That the challenges for the day also included the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, engaging in some sabre-rattling towards Iran, simply made it obvious that America's foreign policy procedures would be tested. Jumping into a situation in like this, in the volatile Middle East, requires a cautious, experienced hand at diplomacy.
Which is why so many experienced foreign policy hands voiced disbelief at how Mitt Romney seemed to - as President Obama noted - "shoot first and aim later."
The full timeline of events is here, though one only needs to see Romney's statements on the events in the Middle East to realize how bumbling and unstatesmanlike the former Massachsetts governor is:
Romney's comments were so misguided, most Republicans seemed to abandon him on this issue - except Newt Gingrich and Sarah Palin.
Contrast that with the swift response by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and that of President Obama himself.
The confusion in the media may have made the situation appear out of control. However, in an interview several hours after Romney's comments, President Obama himself made it clear that the situation was under control - and that Mitt Romney's comments were unwise, irresponsible, and showed the Republican candidate's painful inexperience with diplomacy.
The facts are clear to anyone who wants to see them.
Mitt Romney and his team failed a critical leadership test Tuesday night.
President Obama and his team - especially Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - passed their leadership test with flying colors.