Democratic pundits are giddy tonight about the reappearance of a feisty and quick (I would argue rude and petulent) Obama at the second debate held tonight at Hoffstra University. I wouldn’t even argue with anyone that would call the evening a slight Obama win. However, Obama’s answers may have won the hour but I think that they will actually cost him any chance to win the election.
For two weeks after the attack on the Libyan consulate in Benghazi the Obama administration created and clung to a narrative that the attacks originated from crowds spontaneously gathering to protest an American film that then turned into a violent confrontation leading to the death of the American Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. In the immediate aftermath of the attack, and for at least two more weeks, President Obama’s Press Secretary Jay Carney told everyone that would listen that the attacks “grew from a spontaneous protest that grew into the deadly attacks.” This video of the PRESIDENT’S Press Secretary EIGHT DAYS AFTER THE ATTACKS makes it clear what the Administration was saying to the public at the time.
Six days after the attack the Susan Rice, the United States Ambassador to the United Nations went on five different Sunday morning talk shows and in each and every appearance blamed the Libyan attacks on a “spontaneous crowd gone horribly wrong.” Nine days after the attacks, President Obama stated clearly and unequivocally that “we still don’t know if this was a terrorist attack” during an interview with Univision. (Univision Interview) A full two weeks after the attack President Obama stepped to the microphone at the United Nations and told the world six separate times that the Libyan attacks resulted from a protest about a film that turned horribly wrong. (Washington Times)
United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice
Tonight, on national television in an act of Orwellian proportions, President Obama tried to rewrite current history by claiming that before flying off for a campaign stop to Las Vegas the morning after the attacks, he made a speech in the Rose Garden where he declared the attacks to be an “act of terrorism.” This was not only a lie but actually creates even more problems for the President and his botched handling of the crisis.
In his speech in the Rose Garden on the day following the attacks, President Obama first blamed the video for the attacks and virtually apologized for the First Amendment, “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.” The President then spoke for several minutes and then addressed his personal commemoration of the anniversary of the 9/11/2001 attacks:
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourn with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.
It was following this statement that President Obama said ”No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” (Entire Transcript of Speech)
In the context of the Administration statements to the public for the next two weeks it makes much more sense that these statements were in reference to either the 9/11/2001 attacks or to “terror” in a more general sense than the President calling the Libyan attacks “terrorist attacks.” Let’s recap quickly 1) during the Rose Garden Speech, President Obama referenced and apologized for the video, 2) for two solid weeks Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney told everyone that would listen that the attacks grew from protests about the video that turned violent, 3) Five days after the attacks U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on every nationally syndicated morning news show and claimed that the attacks were the result of protests about the video gone wrong, 4) nine days after the attacks President Obama told Univision that he didn’t yet know “whether the attack was a terrorist attack,” 5) two weeks after the attacks the President spoke before the United Nations and made multiple references to the cause of the attacks as a video protest spontaneously turned violent.
President Obama has two choices here 1) admit that he screwed up during the debate and he did believe for two weeks that the Libyan attacks were not terrorist attacks but a “spontaneous protest over a video gone horribly wrong,” or 2) admit that he directed his Ambassador to the United Nations to lie to the American people on six different talk shows, his press secretary to continue this lie repeatedly to the press and that HE lied to the world when he blamed the video and “spontaneous” protests for the attacks during the Univision interview and during his speech to the United Nations. Neither of those options are particularly good for a campaign that has spent the past two weeks calling Governor Romney a liar.