The father of Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya who was killed in the attack in Benghazi last month, said his son's death shouldn't be politicized in the presidential campaign.
"It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue," Jan Stevens, 77, said in a telephone interview from his home in Loomis, Calif., as he prepares for a memorial service for his son on Tuesday at San Francisco City Hall.
Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, has criticized President Obama for not providing adequate security in Libya, saying the administration had left U.S. diplomats in the country exposed to a deadly terrorist attack.
The ambassador's father, a lawyer, said politicians should await the findings of a formal investigation before making accusations or judgments.
"The security matters are being adequately investigated," Stevens said. "We don't pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That's where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena." Stevens said he has been getting briefings from the State Department.
On the eve of their second debate, President Obama and Mitt Romney remain locked in a virtual dead heat nationally, with Republicans showing more enthusiasm for their nominee after the first debate, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Likely voters in the new poll split 49 percent for Obama to 46 percent for Romney, basically unmoved from the poll two weeks ago, just before the two candidates met in Denver. On topic after topic, the survey portrays an electorate that remains deeply divided and locked in its views.
Nearly two-thirds say they do not need any more information before Election Day, and barely one in eight is undecided or say there is a chance he could change. Even as voters overwhelmingly perceive that Romney won the first debate, the vast majority say their opinion of the president did not shift. But more people changed their views of Romney, largely in a positive direction. Overall, more than twice as many say their opinions of the former Massachusetts governor improved than say they worsened as a result of the debate.
President Obama and Mitt Romney hunkered down in private debate preparation for much of Sunday as aides offered a pre-debate sparring match on TV.
"[The president] knows Mitt Romney had a better night at the first debate," Obama spokeswoman Jennifer Psaki said. "The American people should expect to see a much more energized President Obama."
Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to the Romney campaign, quipped that the former Massachusetts governor would be prepared regardless of any Obama adjustments. "The president can change his style. He can change his tactics. He can't change his record."
The president spent the day with aides in swing state Virginia, while Romney stayed close to his Boston-area home ahead of Tuesday's town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.
The final debate is Oct. 22 at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla.