It takes Newt Gingrich a little while to get his edge in this clip from his appearance on CBS News this morning with former Michigan governor Jennifer Granholm, but when Granholm offers Gingrich an opening, he becomes the quintessential Newt. Gingrich provides analysis of the debate, noting that Ryan had his first experience on a truly national stage last night against a deeply experienced politician, and offers a fairly balanced perspective on how each succeeded in their strategies. However, he tells CBS that Biden’s deception on Benghazi will “haunt” Barack Obama in the final three weeks:
Gingrich, who appeared on “CBS This Morning” alongside Democratic former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, accused the Obama administration of knowingly misleading the American public with regard to the consulate attack in Libya, and argued that Biden continued to propagate falsehoods on the subject last night.
“Biden on Benghazi was so wrong last night it will haunt them,” Gingrich told CTM hosts Norah O’Donnell and Charlie Rose. “The vice president of the United States doubled down on a president who for three weeks misled the American people … The State Department said flatly this week [the violence] never related to the video, it was related to terrorism.”
“As recently as last night the vice president of the United States misinformed the American people for, I presume, political purposes,” he said.
Granholm pushed back against this analysis, stating that voters probably aren’t going to take the Benghazi attack and the administration’s response into account when they vote. They’ll focus more on economic issues, she tells Gingrich — and she may have been right about that, but then she offered a wide opening for Gingrich to do some dot-connecting:
GRANHOLM: You know, I think in regards to the debate and the election, I don’t think people are going to be voting on Benghazi. I think they are going to be voting on “who do you trust?” And when Joe Biden looked in the camera and said, “Who do you trust on these issues?”, people felt like he’s right. Yes, the situation is evolving, and he acknowledged that the situation is evolving, and they’re doing an investigation. But for this election, what’s most important is how — how are these plans going to help me as a person in this economy. And those segments on the economy last night were fabulous.
GINGRICH: Let me just say — Governor Granholm just put her finger on a key word. “Who do you trust?” The Vice President of the United States doubled down on the President, who has for three weeks now methodically misled the American people.
GRANHOLM: That’s not true.
GINGRICH: That is true. The State Department said flatly this week they never thought it related to the video, they always thought it was terrorism. The State Department said they asked for the security. The Ambassador’s own diary says that he had asked for the security. You want to talk about trust? Having an American ambassodor and three other Americans killed while the President lies to you is a pretty big question.
I wrote before the first debate that Team Romney had to tread carefully on the Benghazi issue, and that it alone wouldn’t make the difference for voters. However, if they can weave it into a larger argument about incompetence and dishonesty that ties together with Obama’s stewardship of the economy, it might bolster a very powerful narrative — and Biden handed Team Romney plenty of ammunition for that strategy.