As part of their ongoing effort to pump up their candidate, David Kirkpatrick of the Times informs us that Al Qaeda is now a story used to scare the gullible. And the partisans, of course:
Election-Year Stakes Overshadow Nuances of Libya Investigation
CAIRO — After a month of conflicting statements and partisan criticism, the circumstances surrounding the attack that killed Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens in Benghazi, Libya, on Sept. 11, 2012, have become clouded in ambiguities and questions: Did the attack grow out of anger against an American-made video mocking the Prophet Muhammad, or was it waged by an affiliate of Al Qaeda out to mark the 11th anniversary of its attack on United States soil?
To Libyans who witnessed the assault and know the attackers, there is little doubt what occurred: a well-known group of local Islamist militants struck without any warning or protest, and they did it in retaliation for the video. That is what the fighters said at the time, speaking emotionally of their anger at the video without mentioning Al Qaeda, Osama bin Laden or the terrorist strikes of 11 years earlier. And it is an explanation that tracks with their history as a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.
So (contra UN Ambassador Susan Rice) it was not a protest against the video hijacked by violent extremists; it was a violent assault by local milita angered by the video.
And that talk of Al Qaeda?
Whether the attackers are labeled “Al Qaeda cells” or “aligned with Al Qaeda,” as Republicans have suggested, depends on whether that label can be used as a generic term for a broad spectrum of Islamist militants, encompassing groups like Ansar al-Shariah whose goals were primarily local, as well as those who aspire to join a broader jihad against the West.
Those scurillious Republicans!
Mr. Kirkpatrick has a Cairo byline; since he may not reading the Times on a daily basis, he can be excused for missing this Sept. 26 headline:
Clinton Suggests Link to Qaeda Offshoot in Deadly Libya Attack
Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton on Wednesday suggested there was a link between the Qaeda franchise in North Africa and the attack at the American diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, that killed the American ambassador and three others. She was the highest-ranking Obama administration official to publicly make the connection, and her comments intensified what is becoming a fiercely partisan fight over whether the attack could have been prevented.
Mrs. Clinton did not offer any new evidence of a Qaeda link, and officials later said the question would be officially settled only after the F.B.I. completed a criminal inquiry, which could take months. But they said they had not ruled out the involvement of Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb — an affiliate of the international terrorist group with origins in Algeria — in an attack the administration initially described as a spontaneous protest turned violent.
The Times has also reported that another noted Romney surrogate has made the Al Qaeda connection:
In the week since the attack, the president of Libya’s newly elected national Congress blamed foreign fighters from Algeria or Mali with links to Al Qaeda who he said entered the country months earlier to plan the assault.
Hmm. A Libyan politician would have obvious reasons to blame meddling outsiders for his problems, but not everyone with an awkward message for Obama is a Republican.
As to the idea that Hillary is a Republican - well, she has been forced to walk the plank on Benghazi, so any day now!
A LIGHTBULB FLICKERS:
In explaining why Team Obama would be crazy to make Hillary the fall gal for Benghazi AllahPundit made this very good point:
Three: How are Obama and Biden going to scapegoat the most famous woman politician in America for a security breakdown at a moment when they’re counting on a decisive gender gap to deliver them a second term? After nine months of the “war on women” and Sandra Fluke and the three-day salute to abortion that you and I know as the Democratic convention, they’re going to freeze out … Hillary Clinton? C’mon.
Yes, but... Obama can praise her years of hard work, ruminate that mistakes were made, note that she is "likeable enough", and move on. It will be left to those Evil Republicans to criticize her decision making process, thereby demonstrating that they don't respect women's intellect or the difficulty of balancing work and home. Obama can play the kindly forgiving father figure that would infuriate libs if it were coming from a Republican, and Republicans can play the heavy. Tricky. I don't think hiding behind Hillary's skirts is Obama's best way of presenting himself as a steely Commander-in-Chief, but I am not a Democratic genius.
BOOTH REVIEW: Now that Hillary has taken the rap, Obama can pick up kudos by pretending to take responsibility himself. His surrogates can then explain that he is just showing he is a great leader and a great guy for covering up what we all know was Hillary's blunder.
My stomach is turning but Chris Matthews and Rachel Maddow are the target audience and they will love this BS.
I HAVE BEEN CHANNELING MY INNER ALLAH... From the AllahP:
Fearless prediction: With Hillary having now formally accepted blame, President Above The Fray will magnanimously volunteer at tomorrow night’s debate that, no no, it is with him that the buck ultimately stops. The White House has been holding off on doing that because they’re desperate to frame this as an internal problem at State. Now that Clinton’s gone and done that, Obama can pose as a stand-up guy and loyal boss by symbolically accepting responsibility on behalf of the people who are really at fault.
More leading from behind.
I strongly, emphatically, vehemently disagree with this bit:
A friend e-mailed me after I wrote this post on Friday scolding me for thinking that Obama might throw Hillary under the bus rather than vice versa. After all, she’d have an easier time running in 2016 against President Romney than she would trying to succeed a two-term Democratic president.
It's the economy, people! The Dem game plan for both 2010 and 2012 was that a good recovery would happen regardless of their own anti-business predilections. Obviously that didn't work so well in 2010, but Obama may yet catch a break with the "recovery" of 2012.
But a President Romney has an excellent chance of inheriting an economy on the verge of recovery. With any luck at all, he should be able to ride that recovery to re-election in 2016; his timing will look a lot like Bill Clinton's in 1992.
Which means Hillary can either run against a successful Republican incumbent in 2016 or attempt (as Gore did) to succeed an economically successful Democrat. I think Barack can do a better job of keeping his pants on and Hillary can do a better job than Big Al.