From Thursday's press conference with State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland:
QUESTION: What’s the divergence between what that message [from the U.S. embassy in Cairo] said and what the message is coming from Washington?
MS. NULAND: I don’t --
QUESTION: Because it seems to me it’s exactly the same thing as what the President and what the Secretary said over the last couple days.
MS. NULAND: I don’t think so, but I’m not going to sit --
QUESTION: Well, can you tell us what was wrong with it?
MS. NULAND: I’m not going to sit here and parse the two texts. I think from our perspective, the message was unbalanced, the words were mischosen, and they were not clearly comprehensible to all audiences.
The statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo on Tuesday condemned “the continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims,” but did not defend free speech. On Wednesday, President Obama condemned "all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others," but he did not defend free speech.
The White House claims it has "distanced" itself from the Cairo statement, but as Democrat Kirsten Powers observed on Fox News yesterday, Obama's statement echoed the statement by the Cairo embassy. "Now we have the administration coming out and condemning this movie as if the movie caused this attack," Powers said. "The fanatics attacked the embassy. They're going to attack us whether there's a movie or not a movie.... The sentiment in that original [Cairo] statement continues to be the sentiment of the Obama administration."