Mitt Romney couldn’t leave the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya alone today. Ignoring the fact that consulates have been attacked under other Presidents, including a rise of attacks under Reagan, Romney said, “No President Obama. It’s an issue because this is the first time in 33 years a U.S. ambassador has been assassinated. It’s an issue because … we were attacked by terrorists on the anniversary of 9/11. This is an issue because Americans wonder why it was it took so long for you … to admit this was a terrorist attack.”
Rumor has it that the President was waiting for all of the intel, but waiting for information is not a speciality of Mitt Romney’s. That is why the headlines the next day were so brutal:
Associated Press Headline: “Fact Check: Romney Misstates Facts On Attacks.” [Associated Press, 9/13/12]
Washington Post Headline: “Fact-Checkers Say No To Romney ‘Apology’ Claims.” [Erik Wemple, Washington Post, 9/13/12]
Washington Post Headline: “Mitt Romney Has Mess To Clean Up After Falsely Accusing Obama On Libya.” [Dana Milbank, Washington Post, 9/12/12]
Reuters Headline: “Romney’s Account Of Egypt Embassy Attack Flawed.” [Reuters, 9/12/12]
Washington Post Headline: “Romney Owes An Apology.” [Ruth Marcus, Washington Post, 9/13/12]
CNN Headline: “Romney Camp Tries To Manage Fallout From Libya Response.” [CNN, 9/12/12]
If Romney wants answers all he has to do is turn to a) himself b) Paul Ryan and c) the House Republicans. Congressman Ryan and House Republicans have pushed for deep cuts affecting diplomatic security for years. Romney’s track record on Libya is so frantic that it involves him fleeing down a hallway to avoid a reporter’s question about Libya:
In March, Romney said he’d have done it sooner and accused the President of following the French into Libya.
In April, he refused to answer journalists questions about his Libya stance, described as “fleeing” down a hallway to avoid reporters, Romney gave them this version of leading, “I’ve got a lot of positions on a lot of topics, but walking down the hall probably isn’t the best place to describe all those.”
Later in April, Romney said Obama was being “too aggressive”, saying, “(i)t is apparent that our military is engaged in much more than enforcing a no-fly zone. What we are watching in real time is another example of mission creep and mission muddle.”
In August, Romney said praised the mission as Muammar el-Qaddafi fell.
Remember when the House that Ryan built defunded security for consulates, even after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton “warned that Republicans’ proposed cuts to her department would be “detrimental to America’s national security” — a charge Republicans rejected”:
For fiscal 2013, the GOP-controlled House proposed spending $1.934 billion for the State Department’s Worldwide Security Protection program — well below the $2.15 billion requested by the Obama administration.
House Republicans cut the administration’s request for embassy security funding by $128 million in fiscal 2011 and $331 million in fiscal 2012. (Negotiations with the Democrat-controlled Senate restored about $88 million of the administration’s request.)
Ryan’s 2014 budget cuts non-defense discretionary spending, “which includes State Department funding, would be slashed nearly 20 percent in 2014, which would translate to more than $400 million in additional cuts to embassy security.”
Maybe you don’t remember any of that because you were busy screaming “Valerie Plame!” today when you found out that in their (yet another) Darrell Issa led witch hunt with taxpayer money, Republicans accidentally outed the location of a secret CIA base.
Dana Milbank wrote Wednesday:
Through their outbursts, cryptic language and boneheaded questioning of State Department officials, the committee members left little doubt that one of the two compounds at which the Americans were killed, described by the administration as a “consulate” and a nearby “annex,” was a CIA base. They did this, helpfully, in a televised public hearing.
So Issa accomplished outing the location of a CIA base in their big show, but no doubt this will magically be blamed on Obama by Republicans. Dana Milbank wrote, “When House Republicans called a hearing in the middle of their long recess, you knew it would be something big, and indeed it was: They accidentally blew the CIA’s cover.”
So the committee investigating whether or not secrets were leaked is now leaking secrets. Will this clown show ever end? Oh, no. They even managed to out that their investigation might be looking into the wrong agency. It looks like it might be the CIA, not the State Department.
Obama for America spokeswoman Lis Smith released the following statement in response to Mitt Romney’s political attacks regarding Libya tonight at an event in North Carolina, “While President Obama has been focused on getting the facts, finding the terrorists responsible, and bringing them to justice, Mitt Romney has attempted to use the tragedy to his political advantage.”
The truth is that Americans do deserve to know what happened on September 11, but the truth is not likely to come from anything Darrell Issa touches, nor does the truth come from the Republicans’ hope of projecting the result of their own budget cuts onto the President, and it certainly won’t come from Republicans’ obvious desperation to smear Obama with the truth about George Bush ignoring intel.
Republicans were warned about denying funding to Libya by their own side, but they played with fire anyway. They were warned by their own conservative policy makers that their actions on Libya were undermining America and emboldening our “enemies”. In June of 2011, Republicans voted for the first time since 1999 to deny a president’s authority to carry out a military operation.
Now they want to obscure these truths and this history by shouting fire at the top of their lungs. We will never get the truth from Republicans who are on record as having sworn that their only agenda was to make Obama a one term president. It’s hard to take them seriously when they only considered denying the funding for Libya in order to obstruct Obama, and now that it’s blown up in their faces, they’re trying to blame him even more. Maybe he does share blame for something, but we’ll never know that so long as Darrell Issa is in charge.
Democrats might have thought that Newt Gingrich’s obsession with destroying Bill Clinton was a one-off, but now they know that whenever Republicans are in power, they will spend all of their time and the people’s money investigating the Democratic president on witch hunts, and ignoring the real work of the people. Republicans will no doubt be very sorry when Democrats have the gavel again.