Clinton, Obama, Romney and the Benghazi ‘Buck’

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Jorge Luis Baca / Reuters

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton gives a speech to the media at the government palace in Lima, Peru, Oct. 15, 2012.

Maybe Hillary Clinton reads Swampland. Because on a day when I wrote that, on the question of diplomatic security in Benghazi, “the buck should stop with her” and not the president, Madam Secretary stepped forward to say, “I take responsibility” for inadequate security at the U.S. consulate there on September 11.

More likely, Clinton was responding to the unusual political dynamic that I described, in which Republicans, after years of trashing Hillary at every opportunity, suddenly seem not to remember her name–because in the home stretch of a presidential campaign, it’s Obama they want to attack, not his Secretary of State. Republicans say the idea that the buck should stop with Clinton is too easy. One Republican partisan points me to a White House statement issued on September 10 which describes a briefing at which  “the President and the Principals discussed specific measures we are taking in the Homeland to prevent 9/11 related attacks as well as the steps taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities abroad, as well as force protection.” (Emphasis mine.)

So the White House wanted to claim credit for presidential attention to security detail before the attacks, but now suggests questions of diplomatic security don’t rise to the presidential level. Perhaps there’s some opportunism here. But it’s also totally plausible that the very specific question Republicans and the Romney campaign are driving–concerns about security in Benghazi–never came up in that briefing.

This particular debate, however, feels like it’s missing the forest for the trees. There’s a more important debate about the continued threat of Islamic radicalism and how the Obama administration has managed it. On Fox News today, Romney foreign policy advisor Richard Williamson called the Benghazi attack “evidence that [Obama’s] so-called success in the war on terror wasn’t so successful,” adding that “targeted killings can’t solve this problem.”

(PHOTOS: Political Pictures of the Week, Oct. 5–11)

What remains unclear is what Romney would have done much differently. He hasn’t called Obama’s Libyan intervention a mistake. Nor does he say Obama should have propped up Hosni Mubarak against the revolutionary tides that swept the Muslim Brotherhood to power in Egypt. Both events have arguably created new opportunities for al Qaeda. But so has, for instance, the supply of arms to Syrian rebels, which Romney wants to accelerate.

On these big questions, the buck definitely stops with the President. But when it comes to explaining clearly how to address these problems, it also stops with Mitt Romney.

87 comments
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LiberalLies2012
LiberalLies2012

No mantisdragon91 comments about some CIA secrets he supposedly knows.

--Rick
--Rick

What is the problem with dealing with topics in a straightforward manner instead of including distractors and diversions into any conversation initiated by those on the left?  Are facts truly that difficult to stack up and examine.

Here is one example.  President Obama and company are demanding a specific, by the penny accounting of candidate Romney's plan to balance the budget and make his tax adjustments work.  His demands may stem from his experience of leading by fiat with both houses of Congress under his control or by executive order to circumvent the will and the obligation of Congress in a partisan way of forcing his world view on the rest of us.

Romney, on the other hand is stating in general terms that these are the things that, if accepted and enacted by Congress,  will work to help jobs and the overall economy recover.  But, he also adds that no matter the outcome or the adjustments that must be made as a result of his bipartisan efforts to get stability and consensus on how best to strengthen the nation as opposed to party, that the rich will continue to pay 60% of all taxes collected by the federal government.

Unless one is planning to lead by fiat or through a dictatorship, how much more specific can one get when trying to get cooperation from disparate groups in order to preserve the union, liberty and the protection of all Americans?

mcmash54
mcmash54

Consevative, liberal,moderate, independant,left wing,far right, moderate, and met"ro sexual, while everyone was busy putting labels on each other the country has been invaded and taken over without anyone firing a shot. In the sixties and seventys there was an "irrational" fear that many people had that one day they would wake up and find everyone speaking russian. Well that time has come but it isnt russian that everyone is speaking its a multitude of third world languages. Government statistics on language in the US states that 1 in 5 people in the US have a language other than english as their primary language, and of those 45% do not speak english at all. As evidence that the government is complicit in this just call any government agencey and you will be asked if you want to hear informormation in english. Why should we have to request our government to speak to us in english,after all english is still our official language. But anyone who would make these observations is obviously an irrational fear monger so lets all take another pill and go back to bed. And incidently anyone who claims to be undecided at this point in the election is a lazy idiot.

Abe Bird
Abe Bird

Romney is the next President of the US!

Thanks God !!!!!!!!!!!

boonteetan
boonteetan

"We came, we saw, he died", so she said.

"We came, we saw, we died", so she not said?    (vzc1943)

nightscout13
nightscout13

She claims to take responsibility for the attack, yet she will not be tried for the death of Christopher Stevens? What's the point of accepting responsibility if you will not accept the consequences? Such a broken political system.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 So you want to send her to prison? Will Collin, Condi, Cheney and Bush be joining her there?

Lee Hopley
Lee Hopley

Deflect, lie, deflect, rinse, spin, and repeat.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 That does seem to be the Republican way. Thanks for pointing it out.

nightscout13
nightscout13

What's the point of accepting responsibility then? Not like she will accept discipline for her f*ck up.....She should have said nothing.

clb2012now
clb2012now

Hillary can take responsibility for the security: Obama is responsibility for lying to America with "video did it" meme

MrObvious
MrObvious

Yet people in Libya says it's because of the video - you know - Libyans. But what do they know about their own country. Some American pundit said it's because of Obamas' gross incompetence. So it must be so.

ahandout
ahandout

 Once again, there was never any report from our intelligence, and that is who Rice and Hillary are blaming, that there was a protest.  Give it up.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Give up what; that Libyans are claiming it? You're going to have to tell them to give it up. Believe what you want but I try to anchor it in what we know, not what we imagine things are.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 And Romney is responsible for hovering like a vulture over our Ambassador's corpse.

Lee Hopley
Lee Hopley

And who was it who went to sleep knowing the Ambassador was missing for over 12 hours?  Hmmm, Obama.  And the next day, unmoved the the terrorist attack, Obama jetted off to Las Vegas for a fundraiser.  That shows real respect after such a monumental event.  

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Almost as much respect as rushing out to make a political statement without knowing all the facts while breaking your promise not to campaign on 9/11. I retract my previous statement since I don't want to slander any real vultures with Romney's image.

mnominous
mnominous

If you want to check whether an essay is partisan or not, just reverse the roles and see wat happens.  If it were Mitt Romney the president, Michael would've chastise him for failing to take responsibility, and rightfully so. For what is the role of the president that has no control over his administration’s failures?

President Obama has become the irresponsible president. He is not responsible for fixing the economy in four years because Bush left it so bad. He is not responsible for the budget deficit for it is the obstructive congress messing it up. He is not responsible for the attacks on Libya for it was Hillary in charge.  Then, what is he responsible for?

You know.... enough is enough. This president has no control over what happens in his administration. Then why reelect him again?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 And yet he is fixing the economy and in fact has recovered all the jobs lost by the previous administration. So what will you cry about next?

Lee Hopley
Lee Hopley

Come to Seattle...gas has not budged from over $4.00 a gallon for a long time...never knew that Obama "like Bush" had oil buddy friends (sarc)

mnominous
mnominous

... and the economy is hunky dory.  Come on mantisdragon91... in what universe you live?  The economy is in shambles. The numbers aren't real. 

MrObvious
MrObvious

The numbers aren't real isn't a very convincing argument without backing it up with some facts.

All facts shows that we're recovering - slowly perhaps but still in a positive direction. The sky is falling the end is near doesn't really square against that.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 The numbers are real and the economy is improving as can be seen by yet more news today:

Home Builders' Confidence Highest in 6 Years

And note which liberal channel this news is on:

http://www.foxbusiness.com/new...

existanceonly
existanceonly

Makes you wonder how much your willing to give to stop the bleeding

Montani42
Montani42

 State Dept people were on the phone with the intelligence officer in

Libya at the time of the attack. There was no demonstration, only a 2

wave attack that killed 4 Americans and that was told to the State Dept

in Washington DC at the time of the attack on 9/11/2012. Obama decided

to cover up his total failure to provide the requested security for the

ambassador and lied for days, when he knew the video had NOTHING to do

with the attacks! There was no confusing intelligence. There was a four

hour battle and there was a drone over the battle in less than an hour.

The Libyan leaders had warned of an imminent attack two days prior to

the actual attack and Obama and Clinton did nothing to secure the people

there. Obama told the UN it was caused by the video. He told the

American people it was caused by the video. He trotted out his UN

ambassador to appear on 5 shows and lie about the same thing. Obama

appeared on The View and lied. He appeared on Letterman and lied. What

he did was criminal neglect. This was legally an act of war by

international law and he sends the cops in to Libya 14 days later

instead of the military. Obama should be impeached for this coverup. It

is way worse than Nixon's lie. No one was killed in Watergate.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Was it way worse than the WMDs lie as well, how about the lack of preparedness on the real 9/11. Was anyone screaming that Bush should be impeached then?

outsider2011
outsider2011

How is it a cover up to get the facts before making any kind of definitive statement?

The locals say it was based on the film; but you know better, right?

And Cairo, which has dropped from the news (no political points to be gained there, so who cares?) Was based on the protest.

The gop are just pushing their agenda.

Montani42
Montani42

 The locals DO NOT say it was based on the film. That is blatantly false.

Again State Dept personnel in Washington D.C.  were speaking on the telephone with the intelligence chief at the time the attack started. An eye witness who was later killed. The Obama administration HAD the facts. This was revealed in sworn testimony before congress. Everyone had the facts by the time Obama sent Ambassador Susan Rice out to lie on five different programs. We also had the facts and a video of the attack before Obama went out and lied in front of the UN, on The View, on Letterman, and to the American people.  The Libyan leader said he had given information two days prior to the attack that an attack was imminent. This is not pushing an agenda any more than pursuing Watergate was a political agenda. That is a lot more serious than Bill Clinton's "I didn't have sex with that woman." Obama is a notorious liar and the liberal press regularly gives him a pass.

outsider2011
outsider2011

 Blatantly false?

Explain this:

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10...

(Thanks for the link Ivy)

Here is a quote:

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 the United States Mission 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 members of a local militant group determined to protect Libya from Western influence.

“It was the Ansar al-Shariah people,” said Mohamed Bishari, 20, a neighbor of the compound who watched the assault and described the brigade he saw leading the attack. “There was no protest or anything of that sort.”

United States intelligence agencies have reserved final judgment pending a full investigation, leaving open the possibility that anger at the video might have provided an opportunity for militants who already harbored anti-American feelings. But so far the intelligence assessments appear to square largely with local accounts. 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.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 If Obama is a notorious liar what exactly would that make Mitt... Pinocchio Supreme.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Not only Cairo, but many other Middle East and Northern African nations.

ahandout
ahandout

The White House press release on September 10th is very damning.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 How so. Please point out exactly what you see that I haven't addressed in your dozens of previous posts.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 I can count well enough to know Mitt's math doesn't add up and can read well enough to know you have nothing on Obama. Thank you for playing, try again.

ahandout
ahandout

 If you can't read the press release, how can I help you, MD?

You can't count either.

ahandout
ahandout

Here is the full press release from September 10, 2012.  Looks like Barry was

in charge.  Too bad, that really messes up the whole Hillary was

responsible BS.And who believes that it is a good idea to wait until the day before to issue a directive to be ready tomorrow, 9/11?  This is really bad for Barry.

Earlier today the President heard from key national security principals

on our preparedness and security posture on the eve of the eleventh

anniversary of September 11th. Over the past month, Assistant to the

President for Homeland Security and Counterterrorism John Brennan has

convened numerous meetings to review security measures in place. During

the briefing today, the President and the Principals discussed specific

measures we are taking in the Homeland to prevent 9/11 related attacks

as well as the steps taken to protect U.S. persons and facilities

abroad, as well as force protection. The President reiterated that Departments and agencies must do everything possible to protect the American people, both at home and abroad.

http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-...

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Still going with the same lie I corrected a few post earlier I see. Keep doubling down on failure. If nothing else you conservatives are consistent.

ahandout
ahandout

Deal with reality MD.  Barry is entangled in his own web of lies.

ahandout
ahandout

 Mr O, that's the funny thing about the truth, when all you get is changing stories, and cover up from Obams, you cannot get to the truth.

But if you have the truth, please pick which story you prefer and enlighten us.

The White House press release on 9/10 has Obama taking responsibility, and stating that HE is taking steps to protect American all around the world on 9/11.  Well, we know that he didn't do that.  In fact, he refused to give the ambassador protection that was asked for,  In fact, Obama's state department pulled TWO security teams out of Libya just the month prior.  In fact the lying SOB, has a lot to explain.

MrObvious
MrObvious

Like a Kafka book righties tells you that it's damning and horrible but when you ask for specifics it's more the 'can't you see????' or 'you're blind'.

Maybe you should spend less time coming up with corny 'entangled in his own web of lies' and just specify what they are.

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

Which lies would that be. All I keep hearing is conspiracy theories and wishful thinking on your part.

tommariner
tommariner

The Second Article of the Constitution reserves PERSONALLY for the President the duties over foreign policy and the responsibility of appointing our ambassadors. But since there is a debate tonight and Benghazi (and the other dozen burning embassies) illustrates the disastrous errors of our foreign policy, the President ordered (or at least got IOU's from) the Secretary of State to claim "the buck stops with her". That is transparent and stupid!

Can you imagine running an entire government solely to get elected? Get me some grown ups running the Administration, please!

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Actually I can imagine that very easily looking at Romney.

Nick Thompson
Nick Thompson

HOw big is your skirt Hilary?  Can you hide two lying ex-presidents under there?

Nick Thompson
Nick Thompson

The Obama campaign 

released a new hit piece ad on Monday featuring paid-off union workers laughing 

at the president’s record on job creation and energy

AfGuyReturns
AfGuyReturns

I'll see your "paid off union workers" and raise you a set of Massey Energy employees with a MANDATORY appearance at a Romney campaign event without pay.

Sure you want to go there?

mantisdragon91
mantisdragon91

 Want to compare lying adds do we? I'm certain it won't end well for you and yours.