New twists on the politics of the Benghazi attack

- October 16th, 2012

Yesterday in Lima, Peru, Elise Labott of CNN had this exchange with U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton:

QUESTION: You say you don’t want to play the blame game, but certainly there’s a blame game going on in Washington. In fact, during the presidential debate, Vice President Biden said, “We didn’t know.” White House officials calling around saying, “Hey, this is a State Department function.” Are they throwing you under the bus?

SECRETARY CLINTON: Oh, of course not. Look, I take responsibility. I’m in charge of the State Department, 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts. The President and the Vice President certainly wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.

via Interview With Elise Labott of CNN.

That quickly led to stories like this one from Reuters’ Andrew Quinn:

LIMA – U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton assumed responsibility on Monday for last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi, Libya, which has become an issue in the hard-fought U.S. presidential campaign.

“I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview …

Clinton’s comments followed stepped-up criticism of the Obama administration over the Benghazi attack, which Republican presidential challenger Mitt Romney has sought to use to dent Obama’s foreign policy credibility before the Nov. 6 election.

But, on the eve of tonight’s Presidential Town Hall debate, Clinton’s answer may have only given Republicans some new ammunition, to wit:

 

Categories: Main Page, US Politics

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2 comments

  1. Bill Dunphy says:

    David,
    Do you think that the reporting you quote from Reuters: “I take responsibility” for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview … and the lead-in paragraph above that is kind of crappy reporting? It conflates the Secretary of State’s sensible “I’m responsible for what my department does” statement with an admission of fault. And doesn’t that conflation (which is more opinion/analysis than reporting) lead to a) cynicism about news reporting (especially if you don’t agree with the opinion) and b) the kind of silly spinning you point to in the tweet? Or am I stating the obvious and that’s WHY you posted this…

  2. David Akin says:

    Hey Bill — Probably that last point!

    I’m not sure I want to play back-seat reporter on the guy from Reuters but looking through six or seven transcripts the State Dept released today of invus Clinton did with NBC, CBS, FOX, etc., this was the only one in which she made that rather odd statement. There was a lot of “media lines” she repeated in each one — every interviewer asked about Benghazi and Biden’s comments — but here she goes a little further. So I think it’s newsworthy what she said. The spin put on it by a reporter and the spin taken by a partisan columnist (that would be Shapiro) seem to be one more reason why, for some of us at least, putting up the “primary sources” or complete Q-As seem more important.

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