Jeffrey Goldberg looks at the Benghazi disaster and the debate debacle, decries the lack of serious debate, and makes with the rhetorical questions:
What we've got now is a discussion about who needs to be fired, and which candidate is in a better position to score cheap points. Does Mitt Romney actually think that Barack Obama doesn't believe that what happened in Benghazi was an act of terror?
GREAT question. Of course, I am not a mind reader so I can only guess as to what Mitt Romney or Barack Obama have been thinking. But let me toss out a few questions of my own:
1. Did anyone think Barack Obama would have taken a political hit if he had entered the Rose Garden on Sept 12 and said something like "Terrorists killed out ambassador to Libya on the anniversaty of 9/11 in an attack we failed to anticipate, after turning down repeated requests for more security in Libya. Oops."? I am just guessing that Axelrod et al advised against walking that road since it clashed with "Osama is dead and General Motors is alive".
2. Here is the White House press release of Sept 12 responding to the death of our Ambassador:
Statement by the President on the Attack in Benghazi
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
Which part of that should have suggested to Gov. Romney (or does suggest to Mr. Goldberg) that on Sept 12 President Obama considered this to be an act of terror? FWIW, my takeaway is that senseless violence provoked by an offensive video sparked the tragedy.
In his Rose Garden appearance the President did mention terror generically and as an afterthought. My question - if he was labeling this tragedy an act of terror, how come no one was listening? How did,for example, the NY Times completely miss that in their coverage of his comments? Why did the press ignore the obvious follow-up questions, such as what groups sponsored the terrorists and was there an Al Qaeda connection?
Why did UN Ambassador Susan Rice harp on the seemingly irrelevant video in her Sunday talk show appearances on Sept 16? Why was it newsworthy when Hillary Clinton described the incident as terror on Sept 21? Why was the President specifically asked whether it was terror as late as Sept 25 on The View (he ducked the answer)?
Is it now the case that when Obama speaks no one listens, including Obama? Does Mr. Goldberg really think that the President clearly described the death of our ambassador as an act of terror on Sept 12 but no one noticed?
Just when should it have been obvious to Gov. Romney and the rest of us that President Obama viewed this as an act of terror?
IF WE CAN BELIEVE THE QUESTONER...
Apparently Obama chatted privately with Kerry Ladka, who asked the fateful Libya question, after the debate:
President Obama, though, wasn’t done with Kerry Ladka. “After the debate, the president came over to me and spent about two minutes with me privately,” says the 61-year-old Ladka, who works at Global Telecom Supply in Mineola, N.Y. According to Ladka, Obama gave him ”more information about why he delayed calling the attack a terorist attack.” For background, Obama did apparently lump Benghazi into a reference to “acts of terror” in a Sept. 12 Rose Garden address. However, he spent about two weeks holding off on using the full “terrorist” designation. The rationale for the delay, Obama explained to Ladka, was to make sure that the “intelligence he was acting on was real intelligence and not disinformation,” recalls Ladka.
Wait - now the President is admitting he waited two weeks to call this terror while the intel came in?