What a sad difference four years makes

Four years ago, I went on and on about all the signs that, following the election of Barack Obama, we were going to put the more petty and pointless forms of partisan bickering behind us, and move forward in addressing the nation’s challenges.

A central theme at the time was the conciliatory relationship between the president-elect on one hand, and Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham on the other — particularly on national security. Here are some of the things I wrote back then, in my last few months at the newspaper:

That last one is particularly poignant in light of the McCain/Graham reaction to the president’s possible choice for new secretary of state, and the president’s reaction to that reaction:

If there was still any thought that President Obama and Senator John McCainmight eventually move past their once-bitter White House rivalry toward a cooperative governing agenda, it was all but dashed on Wednesday.

The two men who battled for the presidency four years ago spent the day bumping chests and marking their turf over the attack on the United States consulate in Benghazi, Libya, and the possibility that Mr. Obama might soon nominate Susan E. Rice, his ambassador to the United Nations, as his next secretary of state.

Mr. McCain, Republican of Arizona, began the ping-pong volley of sharp-edged commentary in the morning, calling Ms. Rice “unqualified” to serve as secretary of state for her public statements about the September attack in Benghazi. He vowed that he and Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina, would do anything “within our power” to block her appointment. The president responded at a news conference in the afternoon, accusing Mr. McCain of trying to “besmirch” Ms. Rice’s reputation and daring him to “go after me” if he wants to.

Mr. McCain then took to the Senate floor to denounce the administration’s handling of the Benghazi attack and to call for a select committee to investigate. He accused the president and his staff of misleading Americans about the events in Benghazi and said Mr. Obama has created a “credibility gap” with the public on the issue.

That story concentrated on McCain, so here’s a quote from a Graham press release:

“Mr. President, don’t think for one minute I don’t hold you ultimately responsible for Benghazi.  I think you failed as Commander in Chief before, during, and after the attack.

“We owe it to the American people and the victims of this attack to have full, fair hearings and accountability be assigned where appropriate. Given what I know now, I have no intention of promoting anyone who is up to their eyeballs in the Benghazi debacle.”

This Benghazi thing that people I respect are bickering over — I’ve never fully gotten it. Way back on Sept. 27, I wrote in puzzlement to Graham’s office, trying to understand what they were all worked up about. Kevin Bishop responded with some links (all from the MSM that some Republicans maintain have ignored the issue), which I found helpful.

OK, yes, I see that statements from the administration following the attack were muddled, back-and-forth. But there were three significant reasons why I couldn’t see it as the “debacle” that Graham describes:

  • I expect a certain amount of confusion, especially in the initial days, about such an out-of-control incident. The fog of war is a real phenomenon. And a terrorist attack involving a lot of people and extreme violence in a remote part of the world is as foggy as anything. Personally, I’m impressed that authorities in that part of the world managed to identify suspects after such a melee.
  • Of course the administration was talking about the inflammatory video. It had already threatened embassy security in one country in the region, and sparked violence in several other locales in the following days. And to think this, initially, was part of that pattern was perfectly reasonable. But even when the administration knew better, it still had a significant problem dealing with the fallout from that video in all those other places. So it was not out of place to keep talking about it.
  • This is the biggest reason. And if it weren’t for the fact that I screwed up and lost a key link, I would have written about this back in September. Just minutes after I had posted that our ambassador had been killed, apparently (I thought) in connection with another video-related protest (my headline was “So now one of these random rioting mobs has killed a U.S. ambassador“), I posted this addendum: “Of course now, all of that said, the administration is saying that maybe this was planned, rather than being a crowd spontaneously getting out of control…”

Unfortunately, as you can see if you click on it, the link I provided on that new development was to the wrong story — it went back to something about the video, not the item that told me the administration was changing its story. This occasionally happens when I’m running multiple windows and tabs (sometime more than 20 at a time) and doing a lot of copying and pasting.

So I don’t know where I learned that, although I’m sure it was one of the usual MSM sources I rely on, the ones you see in my Virtual Front Pages — the NYT, the WSJ, the Washington Post, something along those lines. I wouldn’t have believed it and passed it on, otherwise.

So I can’t say, “Look, senators, you’re wrong. See what the administration said that day.” But I can never quite connect with their narrative that the administration was hiding the hand of terror in this incident, because I got the impression from the administration that it was terrorism on the very first day. And I continued to see reports to that effect going forward, becoming more definite with the passage of time, as I would expect.

If Susan Rice persisted in saying something different, maybe that’s a problem. She was either misinformed, which would not be good, or deliberately trying to portray the incident as something other than what it was. Why she would do that, I’ve never fully understood, but there’s that possibility, I suppose.

Yeah, I know, there’s this whole narrative where the administration failed to heed cries for more security, or failed to react quickly enough to the attack itself, and sure, go ahead and investigate that. A U.S. ambassador was killed. We should know everything that went wrong so that we might keep it from happening again.

But all this chest-puffing, finger-pointing “debacle” talk is over the top. We don’t need this right now.

I subscribe to Thomas Friedman’s assertion that this is a very dangerous time in the region, starting with the meltdown of Syria and on through a litany of other delicate situations that make that part of the world more of a powder keg than usual. This would be an excellent time to go back to having partisan hyperbole stop at our shoreline. The way it did four years ago.

79 thoughts on “What a sad difference four years makes

  1. Doug Ross

    Senator Graham, the prize poseur, has to up his right wing credentials in order to fend off a primary challenge next time. He knows he has lost a lot of the Republican base in SC with his on-and-off Obama love.

    Just wait until he gets re-elected. Then he’ll transform into the “can’t we all get along?” Lindsey you admire.

    He’s a phony.

  2. Brad

    I like Tom Davis personally, but there’s no question for me in a contest between the kind of extremism he’s been embracing and Lindsey Graham…

  3. Burl Burlingame

    The “fog of war” is the very reason repubs are so rabid on the issue — they are spinning doubt of of confusion.

    BTW, Rachel Maddow called it a planned terrorist assault almost from the first day.

  4. Brad

    By the way, because that NYT story centered on McCain, it ignored the fact that the president was including Lindsey Graham in his “go after me” challenge. Here’s a fuller quote, from the WashPost:

    “If Sen. McCain and Sen. Graham and others want to go after somebody they should go after me…”

  5. bud

    I can never quite connect with their narrative that the administration was hiding the hand of terror in this incident, because I got the impression from the administration that it was terrorism on the very first day.

    Me too. One of Mitt Romney’s worst moments in the campaign came in debate number 2 when he accussed the president of NOT calling Benghazi an act of terror for 2 weeks when in fact he called it just that the very next day. In the third debate Romney ignored the whole incident. Apparently Romney didn’t see much too it either. At least the cover-up aspect of it. What exactly are they trying to cover up?

    Not that the administration can be let off the hook entirely. They certainly were a bit naive to think the Libyans were capable of protecting the consolate. But all in all the administration has done a pretty good job protecting consolates and embassies. This one incident is an exception.

  6. bud

    Not sure what we would do differently going forward if the Benghazi incident was somehow misrepresented. We’re going to “drone” the perpetrators once they are located regardless of how the incident occurred and what was done wrong by the administration. The right is just not adding any value to the investigation of this horrific incident.

  7. Matt Warthen

    The reason you don’t get why this is such a big deal is because you don’t watch Fox News. Or The Blaze. Just check it out for five minutes a day, so that when you need to you can translate the righteous indignation from those who hang on Sean Hannity’s every word with religious fervor. It’s like a whole different reality. It’s like Artisanal, Small Batch, made-to-order conservative reality.

  8. Steven Davis II

    So the Obama is sitting in the War Room watching the attacks live on monitors, two Navy SEALs disobeying direct orders to not attempt to help the people in the embassy say screw it and go anyway. These same two SEALs fight and hold off attackers for hours and call and repeatedly ask for artillery/air support on a location, one of them had a laser designator on his rifle to direct the incoming rounds… and the people watching say, “Nope, can’t give you any support and watch them get overrun and killed. This is the mentality of the people we have in charge. We don’t have a Commander in Chief, we have an Apologizer in Chief heading up this country. I hope there is a full investigation, and someone hangs… a military leader does not ignore and leave his men to die in battle without attempting to save them. It’s just a shame that we don’t have a leader in office who has any military experience or knowledge other than how to put in his gifted leather flight jacket.

    I see more and more FBHO on forums these days… I’ll let you guess what that stands for.

  9. Steven Davis II

    @Bryan – X2

    Obama doesn’t have to worry about offending anyone in this country now like he did the last four years when he was more interested in votes than people. These next four years are going to bring this country to it’s knees.

    Under what other president has there been a wide-scale attempt (not serious) at succeeding from the Union? Not one that I know of since the 1860’s. It’s going to get worse… a lot worse, before it gets better.

  10. Silence

    SDII – I’m completely at a loss about what FBHO stands for, unless you are suggesting you’d like to join the POTUS in consentual adult homosexual congress for a night of passionate lovemaking. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, if that floats your boat.

    This is the 2010’s and I’m down with the ladies.

  11. Steven Davis II

    Brad – Yet worse things were said by the liberal side of the blog when Bush was president. Didn’t see you laying down the law then.

  12. Phillip

    Look, Brad, McCain and Graham are principled guys who never change their tune based on political position or consideration…after all, remember how in the same way they consider Susan Rice “unqualified” and “up to her eyeballs in the Benghazi mess” because she made an incorrect statement early on in that situation, they also vehemently opposed the nomination of the other Rice, Condoleezza, to be Sec’y of State because she (as National Security Advisor) had failed to follow up on the famous “Bin Laden determined to strike in US” memo prior to the 9/11 attacks.

    Oh wait, what’s that…oh, I guess they didn’t oppose Condi Rice. But that’s understandable, because, you know, 9/11 was not as serious as Benghazi and after all who has more direct responsibility in each case, the National Security Advisor or the UN ambassador?

    …oops again…guess I’ll have to find another reason (other than principle) to explain McGraham’s latest tantrum. (Only consolation is that we no longer have Joe Lieberman adding to the chorus…)

  13. Brad

    And of course, I disagree. When McCain, Graham and Lieberman all agree on something, I’m probably with them.

    The one exception I can think of would be on the health care bill…

  14. Michael Rodgers

    @SDII: “worse things were said by the liberal side of the blog when Bush was president”

    Thank you for your unsupported assertion and unexamined conclusion. I’m glad to see you having fun, whoever you are.

  15. Tavis Micklash

    This is just the natural course of the election cycle.

    Primary – pander to the fringe base.

    Convention – Move to the middle

    Post Election – receiving the “clear message” from voters for bipartisanship

    Trench Warfare – Return to party lines for political cover and support for next election

    Rinse and repeat.

    The Susan Rice Nomination is just a proxy war. Obama may say come after me but he is untouchable. He won. He fully expects heavy republican resistance the last 4 years anyways. So they are going after Rice who is falling on the sword for the bad intel she got.

    There is a reason she went on the sunday shows. She wasn’t directly involved and was obviously reading talking points. You could have put the Forestry Commissioner up there and had the same results.

  16. Kathryn Fenner

    There’s no equivalence between Bush detractors and Obama detractors. That’s like equating Hodges detractors with Haley detractors.

  17. kc

    The Republicans are desperate to gin up a fake scandal to drag the Obama admin down for the next four years.

    Unfortunately for them, most of the thinking people in the country share your reaction to Benghazi.

  18. Burl Burlingame

    McCain and Graham today skipped a closed-door briefing on the Benghazi incident in order to hold a press conference complaining that they didn’t have enough information on the Benghazi incident.

  19. Phillip

    Brad, if “McCain” were a stock, you should have “sold” a long time ago, that value has long since vanished. What’s it going to take to convince you his days of honor are long since passed and he has become…(well, I won’t use Andrew Sullivan’s term for him) let’s just say pathetic.

  20. Steve Gordy

    Since McCain and Graham are so intent on finding what really happened in Benghazi, I’d appreciate it they went back and tried to determine why the Reagan Administration botched the terrorist threat after the bombing of the U.S. embassy in Beirut (Spring ’83), thereby helping to facilitate the barracks bombing that killed over 250 Marine and Navy personnel in the fall of ’83. We’re still waiting for answers on that one.

  21. Lynn T

    John McCain said that Benghazi was “the worst national security failure of my lifetime.” There is no way to spin this statement as anything other than complete nonsense. We know that McCain is old enough to remember 9/11. Further, it McCain’s nonsense is politicizing a national tragedy for partisan purposes. I know you love John McCain, but there is no excuse for his behavior in this case.

  22. Brad

    Kathryn wrote, “There’s no equivalence between Bush detractors and Obama detractors. That’s like equating Hodges detractors with Haley detractors.”

    I see no problem equating those two — since I’ve been both.

    In fact, there are a number of parallels. Both of them were people I liked quite well when they were House members. Although, in each case, I began to have some doubts toward the ends of their service in that body.

    Jim was one of my favorite legislators — a level-headed, pragmatic sort of guy who really wanted to make a difference, and was pretty effective at it. I used to have a running joke about him — whenever Cindi Scoppe would mention something good he was involved in, I’d say, “I’ve got my eye on that young man.” (The gag was that I had been surprised to learn that Hodges, who looked older than I was, was actually younger.)

    But when he became House Democratic leader, all of a sudden he was playing the usual party games. Which was particularly unappetizing because prior to that, such games had not been “usual” among Democrats. The GOP were the ones who made a big deal about party, as they surged into control of the chamber. The thing I had liked about the Democrats was that they didn’t do that stuff. Now, in retaliation, Jim was overtly partisan. This didn’t turn me against him, but it did take some of the luster off his star. (I was more like, “I’m starting to worry about that young man…”)

    When I started to worry about Nikki was when she went through that whole Joan of Arc routine over the roll-call votes — taking on the leadership and being persecuted by them in turn. I was fairly supportive of her cause (although not as dogmatic about it), but I started to wonder about her, as she seemed to take on some of that self-aggrandizing tone that became so familiar in her run for governor. I don’t think I wrote a word about it, because it was hard to put my finger on, but it kept me from being quite as enthusiastic about supporting her in that struggle as I might have been otherwise.

    Of course, when they each ran for governor, things got really bad. Jim was led by Kevin Geddings (and I guess Dick Harpootlian) over to the Dark Side, and Nikki became drunk on celebrity and demagoguery.

  23. Doug Ross

    The 2000 John McCain would be embarrassed to be seen with the 2012 version. Long tenures in Washington tend to bring out the worst in people.

    I think it really sticks in his craw that Obama beat him so soundly in 2008. By claiming the economy was fine and then throwing a Hail Mary that turned into Sarah Palin, he blew what should have been a Republican win. He “evolved” more the Mitt Romney when he should have stuck with his “honest politician” shtick.

  24. Kathryn Fenner

    Really? Jim Hodges’ Waterloo was supposedly the Hurricane Floyd evacuation, Haley’s, so far, is the DOR hacking. Hodges is clearly intelligent; Haley, not so much.

    I don’t see equal negative values there.

  25. Brad

    The hurricane evacuation played no role in my opinion of Jim Hodges as governor. In fact, I had forgotten it until you mentioned it.

    The DOR hacking played no role in the formation of my impression of Nikki Haley as governor.

    Both of those things happened late in the game. My problems with both of them started about the time they started running for that office.

  26. Brad

    Yes, I realize failures such as those tend to capture public imagination, but they don’t influence my judgment much.

    Both, at least to some extent, fall into the “s__t happens” category. While it would have been great if they had averted those failures, the outcomes weren’t entirely predictable. In Haley’s case, while you can blame her for her disengagement, I sort of doubt that the most engaged and aware governor in the world would have discovered and fixed that problem ahead of time. (I’d certainly hate for MY reputation to rely on such prescience.) With the hurricane thing, as I recall, the governor actually made a bad call in a tight spot. But people do that. Neither was a GOOD thing, but neither would make me say, by itself, “Here is a bad governor.”

    No, what really turns me against politicians — at least, what turned me against those two (and Sanford) — is their deliberate, premeditated embrace of bad policy ideas, and their concerted efforts to carry out those policies. Those are things I can’t excuse.

  27. Karen McLeod

    Senators McCain and Graham should remember that it was the Republican congress back in ’10 that slashed the budget for embassy security.

  28. Mark Stewart

    I get McCain’s angst. He is too bitter and too old (in the political sense). It’s time for him to retire. If he chooses to leave on a low note, so be it.

    But what is going on with Graham? There is no decernable reason why he would tow this line. Has he made a secret bargain with the devil or something? He started out strong as a Senator, and has faded into such a sad little corner.

  29. Brad

    McCain is his best friend and ally.

    And the expression is “toe the line.”

    It’s actually a naval expression, which is appropriate here…

  30. Brad

    I think I’ve explained this before, but I like explaining it…

    The expression dates from the days of sail, of wooden ships. When sailors would line up for inspection, they’d line up their toes (they were generally barefoot except on formal occasions) along a particular seam in the deck, where the boards joined. Hence toe the line.

    But of course, it makes sense in any situation in which people are lining up side by side.

  31. Brad

    By the way, Steve, McCain opposed Reagan’s sending the Marines into Lebanon. So I don’t know whether you want to hang anything about that around his neck.

  32. Kathryn Fenner

    Jeebers, Brad, you keep going off on irrelevant tangents. The sausage/steak was a metaphor, and maybe Mark was saying Graham is not a mule whose name is Sal. Need to refill that Adderall script?

  33. Brad

    It seemed relevant to me.

    As to stimulants, keep in mind that I have not had a drop of caffeine in any form in more than a month.

    Oh, and by the way, my hearing’s getting dramatically WORSE, not better, since I started all this giving up of the things that make life taste good. I went back in for another hearing test last week. The right ear had deteriorated noticeably, and my ability to distinguish speech in that ear had declined, in one month, from 92 percent to 72 percent. And some of those I got right I was guessing on.

    I had an MRI this week. Still waiting on the results.

  34. Brad

    By the way, as long as I’m moaning about my health…

    I was wrong about what would be the hardest to give up — salt, alcohol or caffeine. I was sure it would be caffeine. I was wrong. That was only bad — I mean, like freaking out withdrawal — for one day.

    On the alcohol, I’ve cheated twice and allowed myself one beer each time. But I didn’t really enjoy it.

    The salt is the tough thing. Certain things, like corn on the cob or a baked potato — I might as well not bother, without salt. Because my diet is so limited already, I pretty quickly quit trying to eat nothing that was in any way salty — although I’ve avoided REALLY salty things, like chips. Started to have some ham this morning, not realizing it was country ham (something I consider too salty even when I’m NOT supposed to be avoiding it). Stopped when I tasted it.

    Mainly, I’m just not using the salt shaker, which is probably not good enough, but it’s a significant reduction in sodium for me, because I ALWAYS salted food…

  35. Bart

    Some heads will roll, some will be thrown under the bus, some will be the expected sacrificial lambs on Benghazi but in the end, it will go away, fade slowly into another “Truther”, “Birther” type conspiracy theory and held onto by clingers who refuse to acknowledge that no matter what, responsibility for the way it was handled will never reach the gates of the White House, it simply will not happen. The Petraeus/Broadwell revelation has been an effective distraction and ultimately, the affair will be the lasting image the public will associate with Benghazi, not Ambassador Stevens or the three other dead Americans.

    If our computers had a firewall as effective as the one surrounding the White House, we would never need an anti-virus program to protect them. Teflon is a sticky piece of tape in comparison.

    Listening to Andrea Mitchell and Brian Williams compare Obama to a fictional president in the movie, “The American President” was nauseating. And these are supposed to be non-partisan anchors and reporters?

    A president and a responsible press should have at best a friendly adversarial relationship and the press should always be questioning, researching, and investigating anything that happens like Benghazi, Watergate, Iran-Contra, Fast & Furious, and reporting honestly.

  36. Dixieviking

    Take a looksee at the Washington Post’s Editorial comment today about Rice’s non-qualifications to be our next Sec. of State.

  37. Brad

    And Bart, they were…

    Back in September, when I was asking Kevin Bishop in Graham’s office what they were going on about, he sent me several links to MSM stories about the inconsistencies in what the administration had said.

    It was duly looked into and reported. The idea that some on the right have that it wasn’t is erroneous.

    It’s just that it wasn’t a big deal to most of us.

    The allegations that the consulate didn’t get the help it asked for — THAT should be completely investigated in order to avoid it happening again. But the thing about whether it was terrorism or not? As I said before, since the administration said terrorism was apparently involved on the first day, and I believed that going forward, I just don’t get why people keep going on like this is some big gotcha.

  38. Brad

    And here’s what I wrote in reply to Kevin at the time:

    “I can see the logic in that, politically — sorta, kinda. I think what makes me sort of obtuse on this distinction is that it wouldn’t occur to me to blame the president because there was a terrorist attack, any more than I would blame Bush for 9/11. I guess some people would, which would give him a motivation not to call it that.

    “But it all seems sort of nebulous. When people who can’t be reasoned with are attacking your embassy and killing your ambassador, the problem is the same whether it was spontaneous or planned. It’s a bad situation for whoever is president, and for the whole country. And for those countries too.

    “Anyway, thanks for your explanations…”

    I was wrestling there with one of the sticking points for me. Since it wouldn’t occur to ME to blame the president because a terrorist attack occurred (because you know, they’re going to happen sometimes, no matter how many of them we stop), I had trouble understanding the supposed motivation for the White House in misleading anyone about it.

    But yeah, I do have to make allowances for the fact that not everyone, sadly, thinks the way I do.

  39. bud

    The allegations that the consulate didn’t get the help it asked for — THAT should be completely investigated in order to avoid it happening again. But the thing about whether it was terrorism or not? As I said before, since the administration said terrorism was apparently involved on the first day, and I believed that going forward, I just don’t get why people keep going on like this is some big gotcha.

    Agree completely. This is starting to look very much like the Whitewater nonsense from the 90s. The GOP is apparently initiating a witch hunt in the hopes of finding something, anything that will discredit POTUS. Let’s just home Obama isn’t sneaking cigarettes in the Rose Garden. The GOP witch hunters will surely find out.

  40. Brad

    And to show that I CAN see when people think differently from the way I do…

    I’ve seen this thing, from the beginning, as being related to the DEEP resentment on the right if the president or anyone else suggests that maybe, just MAYBE, it’s a really bad idea for people in the west to abuse their rights of free expression by making a stupid film mocking Islam, or publishing cartoons disrespecting Mohammed, or whatever childish stunt someone has cooked up to get people killed.

    Their thinking goes like this. We’re free to do what we want, including mocking the religion of these people in foreign lands. THEY are not justified in committing acts of violence in response.

    Yes, that’s right, boys and girls. But considering the reality that they ARE going to react violently, and you know that, and the victims are going to be innocent third parties, you’re a real jerk to go ahead and do it, especially when absolutely nothing is accomplished by your doing it.

    You want to make a big principled speech about your rights? Go over and make it to the howling mob, and see how far your logical arguments get. At least that way they’ll tear YOU to pieces instead of the innocent people who had nothing to do with what you did.

    But people on the right, and an awful lot on the left, have trouble understanding that. I don’t know why. Maybe it’s that they weren’t newspaper editors for 35 years. But I learned long, long ago, that just because you have a legal RIGHT to create or publish something doesn’t mean that you should, or that there aren’t consequences in the real world — consequences to actual human beings other than yourself — if you do.

  41. Steven Davis II

    @Bart – So Benghazi is just some Truther/Birther conspiracy??? These conspiracies are getting deadlier and deadlier, this last one cost four American lives.

    Where as Obama during all this? Drinking Krystal with Jay Z and Beyonce in Hollywood.

  42. Steve Gordy

    I think the entire McCain/Graham offensive against Susan Rice may be a spoiling attack. John Kerry is also reported to be in the running for Secy. of State in the second term and I suspect both men think they can work better with him.

  43. Brad

    No, I’m not. It was a terrorist attack.

    I’m saying that I suspect that one reason people on the right are so outraged that it was initially, briefly confused with the attacks that WERE about the video was because they were already ticked off that the president was expressing dismay at the video, and that (if I recall correctly) the administration asked YouTube to review whether the video violated its policies. The general attitude seemed to be that they thought the president should say, “Hey, alla you stupid foreigners, f__k off! We’ll make any damn’ videos we choose…”

    That would explain why the confusion, which seemed natural enough to me (and in any case was straightened out in my mind the first day), is so deeply offensive to many on the right. They’re like, “There Obama goes about the video again!” and it sets them off…

  44. Brad

    By the way, Petraeus’ testimony today is going to give fresh fuel to those who are mad at the administration, because he said that somebody other than the CIA edited the intelligence talking points to remove the reference to it being a terrorist attack.

    So here we go again…

  45. Steven Davis II

    Brad, What are those people doing watching videos on YouTube anyway?

    As to what you suggested we say in that first paragraph, aren’t those foreigners already saying this to us?

  46. Burl Burlingame

    “Where as Obama during all this? Drinking Krystal with Jay Z and Beyonce in Hollywood.”

    Wait, I thought he was watching the assault in “real time” and laughing in his popcorn.

  47. Steven Davis II

    @Kathryn – I guess it takes a liberal to know that, I suspect many times both are eaten together.

    @Burl – Actually if he had been in the room he would have been playing Nerf basketball. Fact is he was doing what he considered to be more important at the time… at a fundraiser.

    So since we’re on Benghazi, who is going to take the fall for denying air or artillery support for the SEALs who were on the ground and repeatedly requesting support? Requesting it up until they were overrun and killed.

  48. Steven Davis II

    Brad, if the administration actually as watching this attack live, why didn’t they respond?

    Bush got [criticism] for reading to kids during the 9-11 attack, but not a word about Obama sitting around drinking and laughing it up with his liberal buddies at a fundraiser while our ambassador and military were under attack. You know what four letters I want to write right now, but have stated you’ll refuse to allow them.

  49. Brad

    That could well be it, Scout. I seem to recall having read it on one of the newspaper sites, such as NYT or WashPost, but it still could have been the Reuters story. It certainly says exactly what I remember reading that first day. To quote:

    “(Reuters) – The attack that killed the U.S. ambassador and three other American diplomats in Benghazi, Libya, may have been planned and organized in advance, U.S. government officials said on Wednesday.

    The officials said there were indications that members of a militant faction calling itself Ansar al Sharia – which translates as Supporters of Islamic Law – may have been involved in organizing the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya’s second-largest city.

    They also said some reporting from the region suggested that members of Al-Qaeda’s north Africa-based affiliate, known as Al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb, may have been involved.

    “It bears the hallmarks of an organized attack” and appeared to be preplanned, one U.S. official said.”

    That moved on Sept. 12.

    Thanks, Scout.

  50. Doug Ross

    When did Rice make her comments? According to the news reports I have looked at, they occurred five days after the attack. Are we to believe that she spoke without any coordination with the White House?

    Here is the transcript from an interview five days after the attack. How can it be read as anything but an attempt to connect the attack to the video protest?

    BOB SCHIEFFER: And joining us now, Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador — our U.N. ambassador. Madam Ambassador, he [the Libyan president of the National Assembly] says that this is something that has been in the planning stages for months. I understand you had been saying that you think it was spontaneous? Are we not on the same page here?
    SUSAN RICE: Well, Bob, let me tell you what we understand to be the assessment at present. First of all, very importantly, as you discussed with the president, there is an investigation that the United States government will launch, led by the FBI that has begun.
    SCHIEFFER: But they are not there yet.
    RICE: They are not on the ground yet but they have already begun looking at all sorts of evidence of various sorts already available to them and to us. And they will get on the ground and continue the investigation.
    So we’ll want to see the results of that investigation to draw any definitive conclusions. But based on the best information we have to date, what our assessment is as of the present is in fact what — it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.
    But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.
    SCHIEFFER: But you do not agree with him that this was something that had been plotted out several months ago?
    RICE: We do not — we do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.
    SCHIEFFER: Do you agree or disagree with him that al-Qaeda had some part in this?
    RICE: Well, we’ll have to find out that out. I mean, I think it’s clear that there were extremist elements that joined in and escalated the violence. Whether they were al-Qaeda affiliates, whether they were Libyan-based extremists or al-Qaeda itself I think is one of the things we’ll have to determine.

  51. bud

    Are we to believe that she spoke without any coordination with the White House?

    What difference does it make? If the attack was characterized as a spontaneous response to the video we go after the perpetrators. If the attack was characterized from the beginning as a planned Al-Qaeda attack completely unrelated to the video we go after the perpetrators. If Susan Rice had done her media tour saying the attack was the result of little green men from Mars we go after the perpetrators. This attention to the details of what was said to the American people 5 days after the attack is completely irrelevant to what we do next.

  52. bud

    Besides her comments left open the possibility that the attacks may have had an Al-Qaeda component. Seriously there really isn’t anything here.

    As I’ve said previously I do think there is something to the allegation that the ambassador and his staff were not removed from Libya once it was clear they were in danger. On that point Sen. Graham probably has a point.

  53. Doug Ross


    Please consider the timing. Obama is trying to push the point that his administration considered the attack a coordinated act of terror the day after it happened yet Rice spoke FIVE days later still pushing the video theme. Who told her to say that?

  54. bud

    Doug, to me it’s utterly irrelevant who told her what to say. I don’t care. It’s a non-issue. Let’s move on to the issues related to security and/or whether the consolate should have been closed prior to the incident. That is a GOP point that really does merit some consideration.

  55. Doug Ross


    As the election approached, don’t you think it was in the best interest of the White House to muddle up the narrative of the Benghazi attack to make sure the marketing message about Obama getting Osama bin Laden thus making the world safer from al Queda?

    I’m not naive enough to believe that what is said, when it is said, and how it is said is not a coordinated effort managed by the Obama (or in the past, the Bush) administration.

  56. Steven Davis II

    bud – Who denied support to the SEALS? Let’s start with that simple question that the Democratic administration is scrambling to make go away. People died, and they’re just trying to cover their butts, while everyone knows they had been watching the events unravel in real time.


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