Stephanie Cutter: Benghazi is only an issue because of Romney and Ryan; Update: NYT more or less agrees

The key bit comes in the last 20 seconds but I’m giving you four full minutes because I want you to watch her blithely assure CNN at the beginning that “the administration has been open and honest since day one about the Benghazi attack.” The administration she’s referring to there is the same one that had a dozen or so different intelligence reports flowing in within the first few hours after the attack pointing to an Al Qaeda connection and yet still sent Susan Rice out to lie to the media about a “spontaneous protest” five days later. CNN helpfully refreshes her memory with a lowlight reel of White House spin, whereupon a cornered flack falls back on her most basic impulse in a desperate situation: She blames the other party for making a big deal out of nothing. And by “nothing,” I mean the murder of the U.S. ambassador and three American consulate personnel.

Ace thinks this is a consummate Kinsleyan gaffe, revealing the Obama campaign’s survival instinct at its most rat-like in the aftermath of Benghazi. Could be, but it’s hard to picture Gibbs or Ben LaBolt saying something like this even in a desperate moment. There’s something here specific to Cutter herself and her Orwellian approach to spin. You saw another example of it just a few hours ago. There’s no reality too real that she won’t cheerfully deny it or blame the other side for it, no matter how highly stacked the facts are against her. The only person I can think of who operates the same way is Debbie Wasserman-Schultz, and it makes both of them simply terrible spokesmen and liabilities for their party. I’m seeing calls in the last few hours for OFA to fire her for these comments, but I hope they don’t. She helps us more than she does them.

Update: Via Josh Trevino, it seems the “politicization” of the Benghazi attacks has discouraged the world’s most influential newspaper from devoting much coverage to Issa’s hearings. File this away mentally for when President Romney’s foreign policy is instantly “politicized” next year:

Baquet and Abramson’s remarks come in response to criticism from the paper’s own public editor, Margaret Sullivan, who objected to the editors decision not run its story about the hearings on today’s front page. Both the Washington Post and the Wall Street Journal gave yesterday’s hearings prominent play on their front pages, above the fold. The Times placed its story on page A3.

Baquet, who oversees the paper’s afternoon editorial meeting, told Sullivan he “didn’t think there was anything significantly new in it.”

“It’s three weeks before the election and it’s a politicized thing, but if they had made significant news, we would have put it on the front,” he said.

Abramson, who described the paper’s Libya coverage as “excellent and very muscular,” also suggested the hearings were politicized, telling Sullivan that she had told editors “to weigh the news value against the reality that Congressional hearings are not all about fact-finding.”

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