Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio defended GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney this morning on “This Week” for his use of the deadly incident in Libya to criticize President Obama on the campaign trail. I asked Portman about this after the father of killed U.S. ambassador Christopher Stevens told Bloomberg it would be “abhorrent” to make his son’s death a campaign issue.
“He didn’t say it was a campaign issue. He said it was an issue. I mean, it’s something the American people are really concerned about, Jake. And, look, you’ve been on top of this. I’ve seen some of the tough questions you’ve been asking the White House on it,” Portman said. “Folks want to know two things. Why wasn’t the security there? And why did the administration try so hard to create, you know, the wrong image as to what happened?”
Tearing a few pages out of the old Clinton playbook, David Axelrod carefully defined the word “we” this morning for Fox News’ Chris Wallace: when the Vice President said in Wednesday’s debate that “we” weren’t aware of the Benghazi consulate’s requests for increased security, “we” included only the President and the Vice President – not the Obama administration at large or the State Department. You got that, right?
In response to Wallace’s inquiry about whether the President takes personal responsibility for the denial of security requests in Benghazi, Axelrod said, “these were judgments that were made by security folks at the State Department.”
“We are going through a ‘mission accomplished’ moment. Eleven years after September 11 , Americans were attacked on September 11  by terrorists who pre-planned to kill Americans. That happened and we can’t be in denial, particularly when there are compounds all over the Middle East that need to be legitimately protected at a level that security professionals ask for,” Issa said of the attack in Libya…
“If security professionals are giving the warning that they need more security, that they need to change how we do business diplomatically in the region, and that is not being heard, than it isn’t just Ambassador Stevens who is now dead, it is everybody who works throughout the Middle East is at risk if we cannot get the security level right,” Issa said on CBS.
1. When, if ever, did Secretary of State Hillary Clinton become aware that there was a request for more security in Benghazi before 9-11-2012?
2. Who participated in briefing Ambassador Susan Rice before she went on the Sunday talk shows on Sept. 16?…
6. When did the president learn there was no mob in Benghazi protesting the film?
7. Who reviewed the president’s U.N. speech delivered on Sept. 25, wherein he continued to connect the attack and the anti-Muslim film?…
10. And, as we started, why has Petraeus not stepped forward to defend his agency, make clear we knew promptly that this was an organized terrorist attack and correct the misrepresentations by political leaders?
Perhaps, then, the real explanation for the White House’s anxiety about calling the embassy attack an act of terror has less to do with the “who” than with the “where.” This wasn’t Al Qaeda striking just anywhere: it was Al Qaeda striking in Libya, a country where the Obama White House launched a not-precisely-constitutional military intervention with a not-precisely-clear connection to the national interest.
In a long profile of President Obama published last month by Vanity Fair, Michael Lewis suggested that the president feared the consequences of even a single casualty during the Libyan incursion, lest it create a narrative about how “a president elected to extract us from a war in one Arab country got Americans killed in another.”
How much more, then, might the president fear a narrative about how our Libyan intervention helped create a power vacuum in which terrorists groups can operate with impunity?
There was no “intelligence” suggesting a movie protest in Benghazi. All the on-site reports made plain what had happened — and by the following morning. The second highest official in the Government of the United States looked the citizenry in the eye on Thursday and said something he knew to be completely false. If Biden’s statement was agreed with Obama and not just ol’ Joe wingin’ it, they’re gonna need a bus with Truckosaurus-high wheels to get the State Department, the intelligence guys, and everyone else they’re planning on throwing under there.
Surely, even among Obama’s media sycophants, there must be someone who recognizes that all the cushy court eunuch posts are filled and, rather than being the umpteenth extra in the crowd scene, there’s a reputation, a Pulitzer and maybe a movie deal to be made here.