Jay Carney clashes with Jon Karl: That Benghazi e-mail from Ben Rhodes wasn’t about Benghazi

posted at 3:21 pm on April 30, 2014 by Allahpundit

Not the first time the White House has tried to spin itself out of a political jam on Benghazi by very finely parsing a particular choice of words. The day after the attack, Obama said vaguely in the Rose Garden that “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation;” after that, however, he studiously refused to describe Benghazi as a terrorist attack. Then, later, having taken some heat for that, he insisted that he’d been calling it terrorism all along, pointing back to his Rose Garden statement as proof. WaPo’s fact-checker slapped him with four Pinocchios for that.

Now here’s Carney insisting that the Ben Rhodes email that lit up conservative media yesterday, which listed as one of the White House’s goals before Susan Rice’s Sunday show appearances “to underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy,” didn’t necessarily mean Benghazi — even though the whole reason Rice was booked was because a U.S. ambassador had just been killed in the American consulate there. It’s basically his version of “These aren’t the droids you’re looking for.” Is it working?

Q: Jay, I guess you’re aware that Judicial Watch obtained an email from Ben Rhodes to staff members about the Benghazi attack.

MR. CARNEY: That’s incorrect, but go ahead.

Q: Oh, OK.

MR. CARNEY: The email and the talking points were not about Benghazi. They were about the general situation in the Muslim world, where you saw, as you may recall, protests…

That exchange isn’t in the clip below (it happened a few minutes earlier in the briefing) but you’ll see Carney reiterate the point. In other words, he wants you to think that Rhodes’s e-mail wasn’t about spinning the gigantic foreign-policy crisis foisted on the White House by the Benghazi attack but rather the much smaller crisis of Islamists gathering near the U.S. embassies on the anniversary of 9/11 to protest the Mohammed movie. It’s ludicrous on its face. If he’s desperate to spin the Rhodes e-mail, I wonder, why didn’t he follow the timeline a la Dave Weigel and argue that Rhodes himself was merely reacting to the first draft of the CIA talking points issued earlier that same day? The White House’s goal all along in this mess over the video has been to keep it safely quarantined outside their own building, a product of honest error by U.S. intelligence, not scapegoating directed from political agents in Obama’s inner circle. Carney could have made that move here; instead, he decided to try arguing that somehow the entire public’s confused about the plain import of Rhodes’s e-mail, to spin the Benghazi attack. Baffling.

Another question from Karl: Why wasn’t Rhodes’s e-mail released before yesterday? It … does seem germane to the House’s investigation of Benghazi.

If there’s no smoking gun and they’re eager to put Benghazi behind them, everything should have been disgorged to House investigators ASAP. Instead, this. What conclusion should be drawn?

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I believe Senator Graham knew about this a long time ago and he should have been putting up a stink when he first saw Susan Rice on the Sunday Talk Shows.

bflat879 on April 30, 2014 at 8:51 PM

He did and hasn’t stopped talking about it whenever asked, really more than any other senator I can remember.

gracie on April 30, 2014 at 8:56 PM

What difference at this point does it make? It’s the end of your presidential aspirations, Killary.

John the Libertarian on April 30, 2014 at 9:21 PM

Jon Karl will be in the unemployment line in 8 weeks

clandestine on April 30, 2014 at 9:41 PM

They’re lying. That’s the truth that should be drawn.

K. Hobbit on April 30, 2014 at 9:46 PM

The day after the election I hope to be passing out “Impeachment” cookies.

Anyone care for a cookie?

famous amos on April 30, 2014 at 9:54 PM

It would suck to be Jay Carney. He has to know everything he says has become untrustworthy and ridiculous.

Ellis on April 30, 2014 at 9:54 PM

Long ago Limbaugh asked the rhetorical on air question to Jay Carney. Jay had just told some line of BS and Rush played it and asked, and I am paraphrasing, – “Jay, what’s your salary? Because that is the price you got for any integrity you once had”.

They are on the run. Let’s see what Boehner does about it. I’m not optimistic.


famous amos on April 30, 2014 at 10:02 PM

It would suck to be Jay Carney. He has to know everything he says has become untrustworthy and ridiculous.

He is a chip off the block. “Not a smidgen of corruption” anywhere by Chicago mob politics standards. Perhaps the only smidgen of schadenfreude I enjoy is that overwhelmingly the Obama lackeys have signed up for Obamacare hook, line, and stinker.

We will watch these poor suckers suffer the same fate of an abandoned Ambassador. Obama is not about performance, he just wants power.

jedifinance on April 30, 2014 at 10:49 PM

Last evening, as I clicked around the TV, I came upon Richard Nixon’s Oval Office speech releasing his “transcriptions” of White House Tapes, trying to damp down the Watergate fires.

All I could think of was how this should play out in parallel with this Obama White House and his underlings, one by one,being picked off as one moves up the chain. In thise days, it was Haldeman and Erlichman. Today, it’s Ben Rhodes, Killary, and Susan Rice. Go for it!!

ugottabekiddingme on April 30, 2014 at 11:47 PM

They are on the run. Let’s see what Boehner does about it. I’m not optimistic.


famous amos on April 30, 2014 at 10:02 PM

What is it you think Boehner can do? Call for a Select Committee?

You do understand that even if a Select Committee were formed, it would have to begin by going over the months and years of work the three other committees have done on the issue already, right?

What makes you think Obama will respond to subpoenas from a Select Committee any more truthfully or faster than he does those from other committees?

If we take the Senate, we can squeeze the money for leverage. But Obama will just try to maneuver into a shutdown for which Republicans are blamed.

We will never get the full truth about Benghazi while Obama is in office. If another Democrat succeeds him, we will never get it all.

Adjoran on April 30, 2014 at 11:56 PM

Imagine this same video clip, only with a Laugh Track added.

Tard on May 1, 2014 at 12:08 AM

They are on the run. Let’s see what Boehner does about it. I’m not optimistic.


famous amos on April 30, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Everything changes when we take the Senate.

John the Libertarian on May 1, 2014 at 12:56 AM

How in the world could anybody have a relationship with this man knowing that every single thing that he has and will ever say is a lie?

Theophile on May 1, 2014 at 2:57 AM

I mean you guys did read the excerpt of that email specifically titled “Benghazi”, right?

And you noticed that there was not one reference to a video in that section, right?

I mean, you read it, right?
everdisodumb on April 30, 2014 at 3:40 PM

You know, I’m always, always genuinely amazed at how dishonest the evangelistic Obama supporters will be just to try and protect the queen.

Here’s a screengrab of the page he’s referencing:


Go ahead and tell us why they just randomly mention “YOUTUBE” on that same page, everdiso.
rogerb on April 30, 2014 at 4:21 PM

All done, everdiso?
An interested observer might note that sometimes it becomes crysral clear that the real problem around here and similar forums is that you guys really aren’t very smart.

rogerb on May 1, 2014 at 7:31 AM

Those are not the emails you were looking for. Obi Wan Jay Carney

kozmocostello on May 1, 2014 at 8:39 AM

What conclusion should be drawn?

That Republicans better not talk about this ongoing administration cover-up or something because it makes the Democrats who attacked people over this look like the lying sh*tbags that they really are.

Good Lt on May 1, 2014 at 9:07 AM

Well according to ABC online today…. the exchange never even happened. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/wireStory/white-house-denies-memo-benghazi-attack-23541647

lkh on May 1, 2014 at 10:26 AM

At long last, a worthy successor to Baghdad Bob- I give you….

Beltway Biff!

Teller of Lies! Speaker of Misdirection! All around jack ass and smarmy little pr*ck! There is no untruth big enough or factual omission too small for Beltway Biff to belch out in the faces of the kneepad media!

Gads. The moronic children are in charge of things.

Heaven help us all for the next two years.

GrassMudHorsey on May 1, 2014 at 11:05 AM

And justice for the four dead Americans, who has been arrested? – is there even an ongoing investigation that is being pursued? This whole affair is disgraceful – and the people who bury the truth and cover up to save an incompetent leader should rot! I apologize to the families of the lost heroes for the complete and utter lack of motivation and respect that the administration, and Obama in particular has shown to their sacrifice. I guess this should have been expected – when a leader ducks responsibility, flying off for a campaign rally in the midst of Americans taking fire it is clear that personal ambition is more important than the oath of office and the promises made to the men and women of this country that protect our way of life.

Regardless of political affiliation, if you are an American this should make you seriously sick.

apeks on May 1, 2014 at 12:11 PM

“What conclusion should be drawn?”
Uh, how about Carney & 0bama are vile, corrupt, lying traitors that should have been executed for their treason years ago, still hourly raising their middle fingers in America’s face?

russedav on May 2, 2014 at 10:39 AM