Local residents react to U.S. ambassador's death - DC News FOX 5 DC WTTG

Local residents react to U.S. ambassador's death

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COBB COUNTY, Ga. -

Georgia residents and congressional leaders responded with outrage to the death of a U.S. ambassador and three other Americans in Libya.

For people passing the flags here on the Marietta town square on Wednesday, the attacks on Americans cut deeply.

"I actually am going to medical school right now, and that's my thing: to help save people," said Justin Pizza. "Just hearing that innocent lives are being destroyed just absolutely destroys my heart as well."

Tomeca Kellog was among several Cobb County residents who felt that the U.S. should respond with force to the attacks.

The fast-moving events present President Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney with differing challenges as the 2012 campaign heads into its final phase.

Fox 5 political analyst Matt Towery says the attacks have the potential to change the dynamics of the presidential campaign.

"The Romney campaign has not been doing well the last week. The President got a huge bump. But this takes the attention off of that and puts it on foreign policy," said Towery. "We don't know. It could be that foreign policy becomes the bigger issue for the next week or two than the economy, which really will amaze all of us who are political pundits."

At Normans Landing in Cumming, talk turned away from sports to the killings in Libya. Local businessman and resident, John Schmitz, believes the timing of the attack was no coincidence.

"I don't think it's a coincidence that it happened on 9-11, so those folks, my heart goes out to them," said Schmitz.

Mark Reid, a father and husband, says the Libyan killings are a reminder to stay vigilant.

"It seems like there's no hope. That these people are going to do what they're going to do," said Reid.

The mob attack on Tuesday -- the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks  -- was initially presumed to have been a spontaneous act triggered by outrage over a movie called "Innocence of Muslims" but U.S. officials now say they are investigating whether the assault was a planned terrorist strike linked to the 9/11 anniversary.

Before the murders in Libya and before the American flag was torn down at the American embassy in Cairo, the embassy apologized for the controversial film in an attempt to calm tensions that had been building over discussions of the movie in the Egyptian media.

"I don't think that we need to apologize for anything," said Schmitz.

With the presidential elections weeks away, people here told me they hope what happened in Libya does not become a political fodder for either side.

"I don't think it's fair for any politician to use the disaster of a human being like that for political gain," said Cumming resident Wendall Couch.

Both of Georgia's senators have spoken out about the attacks.

Senator Saxby Chambliss released this statement saying,  "I want to express my deepest sympathies to the families of those who were killed serving our country in Libya. These Americans risked their lives to serve the interests of our country and assist the people of Libya. I am outraged by these attacks and concerned about reports that they were not spontaneous, but rather planned terrorist attacks on our country."

Senator Johnny Isakson also released a statement saying," Ambassador Stevens represented his country proudly and worked tirelessly so that Libyans may one day realize the freedoms and liberties that we enjoy and cherish as Americans.

"This tragedy should remind us all of the service of American civilians who work every day to advance the principles of the United States throughout the world."

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