Republicans have pivoted to a broad critique of President Obama’s leadership and foreign policy as violence in the Middle East threatens to escalate in the aftermath of the brutal killing of American personnel in Libya.

Obama’s challenger for the White House, GOP nominee Mitt Romney, fired the first shot on Wednesday when he accused the Obama administration of sending “mixed messages” that signaled weakness to the world as protesters stormed a U.S. embassy in Cairo on the anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks.

He followed that up Thursday with a swipe at the president’s handling of the cuts to the military from sequestration, arguing the reductions will sap America’s military might.

“Ever since [President] FDR, we’ve had the capacity to be engaged in two conflicts at once and he’s said no, we’re going to cut that budget to only one,” Romney said of Obama at a campaign rally in Fairfax, Va.