Arguing that “democracy is not just casting a ballot,” President Obama said fledgling governments in the Arab world must also respect freedom of speech and tolerate diverse views, condemning continued violence that has been attributed to a controversial anti-Islam video.
In an interview with CBS’ David Letterman on the "Late Show," Obama also said that his administration is committed to “reinforcing” security at its diplomatic posts in the Middle East and bringing those responsible for the deaths of diplomatic personnel in Libya “to justice.”
"The message we have to send to the Muslim world is that we expect you to work with us, to keep our people safe, and as offensive as this video was -- and obviously we denounced it, the United States government had nothing to do with it -- that's never an excuse for violence,” Obama said.
Obama’s comments come as a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll found diminished support for the president’s handling of foreign policy, which has long been a strong point for him compared with other areas, most significantly the economy.
Last month, 54% said they approved of Obama’s handling of foreign policy. Now, that figure has dropped to 49%, while 46% disapprove.