Er … that she lied? In case you missed it, Marco Rubio cited Hillary Clinton in one of his broadsides on the media, calling it the Democrats’ best super-PAC. Rubio expressed amazement at the fawning coverage Hillary received even after e-mails emerged that showed Hillary informing Chelsea Clinton and the Libyan government as the attack on the Benghazi consulate unfolded that it was a terror attack being carried out by Ansar al-Sharia, al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the region. That was in direct contradiction to her insistence over the next two weeks that it was a spontaneous demonstration over a YouTube video that turned violent:
In fact, that response never even produced a follow-up from the CNBC panelists, a mind-boggling decision in the middle of a presidential debate. CBS’ Charlie Rose instead followed up this morning, demanding to know why Rubio thought Hillary is a liar (via Daniel Halper):
“You called Hillary Clinton a liar, senator,” said Rose. “You called Hillary Clinton a liar.”
“Well,” Rubio responded, “I said Hillary Clinton lied about Benghazi. There’s no doubt about that, Charlie. I mean, there are emails in which she was talking to her family and she was telling them that there was an attack on that consulate that was due to a terrorist attack by al Qaeda elements, and then she was going around the country, talking to the families of the victims and to the American people, saying, No, no, this is because [of a video].”
Rose then tries to shift blame for the inconsistency to the CIA, but Stephen Hayes reminded people on Twitter today that the CIA never blamed the YouTube video. That, says Mike Morell in his memoirs, came from the White House:
Ex-DepCIA dir: WH blamed: "Benghazi attack on the video which is not something CIA did in its talking points or in its classified analysis"
— Stephen Hayes (@stephenfhayes) October 29, 2015
But he then goes on to assail the White House’s treatment of the finished work product, noting that “there was something different in the White House-produced points sent to [National Security Adviser Dr. Susan] Rice’s staff.” Morell singles out what many in the media noted, that in the “Goals” section of the talking points, it stated: “To underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video and not a broader failure of policy.” (Bear in mind that the 2012 election was just weeks away.)
“The White House has argued that its talking points were not about Benghazi but about the broader protests taking place in the region,” Morell writes. “But that explanation does not hold water –because just one bullet point later in the ‘Goals’ section of the White House talking points is the following: ‘To show that we will be resolute in bringing people who harm Americans to justice’ — and the only place Americans had been harmed during that period was in Benghazi.”
Morell concludes that the White House was “blaming the Benghazi attack on the video — which is not something CIA did in its talking points or in its classified analysis.” Stating his belief that a bright red line should exist between those White House officials responsible for national security and those in charge of politics, and “the line about how Benghazi was not a failure rooted in broader policy seemed to me to be a political statement not a national security one.” Morell also tweaks Rice for saying on a Sunday show that there had been a “substantial security presence” in Benghazi, which wasn’t in either the White House or CIA talking points.
The real question here, though, is why Rose is grilling Rubio on this point. Why isn’t he demanding answers from Hillary Clinton about it — and why isn’t anyone else trying to do the same?