October 12, 2012

VP debate substance: "Biden contradicts State Department on Benghazi security."

Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy:
"We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there," Biden said.

In fact, two security officials who worked for the State Department in Libya at the time testified Thursday that they repeatedly requested more security and two State Department officials admitted they had denied those requests.

"All of us at post were in sync that we wanted these resources," the top regional security officer in Libya over the summer, Eric Nordstrom, testified. "In those conversations, I was specifically told [by Deputy Assistant Secretary of State Charlene Lamb] ‘You cannot request an SST extension.' I determined I was told that because there would be too much political cost. We went ahead and requested it anyway."

Nordstrom was so critical of the State Department's reluctance to respond to his calls for more security that he said, "For me, the Taliban is on the inside of the building."

"We felt great frustration that those requests were ignored or just never met," testified Lt. Col. Andrew Wood, a Utah National Guardsman who was leading a security team in Libya until August.

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) released the unclassified cables containing those requests.
Was Biden ignorant of all this, was he lying at the debate, or did he mean to assert that the State Department officials were lying?

The Libya question opened the debate. Let's look at the transcript:
RADDATZ: I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there. It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?

BIDEN: What is was, it was a tragedy, Martha. It -- Chris Stevens was one of our best. We lost three other brave Americans. I can make absolutely two commitments to you and all the American people tonight. One, we will find and bring to justice the men who did this. And secondly, we will get to the bottom of it, and whatever — wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us, we will make clear to the American public, because whatever mistakes were made will not be made again....
Biden avoids the question. On a question that he could have predicted and should have prepared for, he makes the lame move of labeling what happened "a tragedy," which really translates to: We don't want any responsibility. Something just happened. Who could have predicted? But we'll investigate and "get to the bottom" of it. If there were any mistakes — whatever mistakes — we won't make them again. I guess there's an implicit denial that there was an "intelligence failure," which is what Raddatz asked about. If his point was it was all a big surprise — who could have known?/next time we'll do better — then what explains all the talk about the video and the (nonexistent) protests, about which Obama, et al. talked as if they had information. It's not enough to say we will get to the bottom of it when you were acting — as long as you could get away with it — as if you had gotten to the bottom of it.

Biden proceeds to run out his 2 minute clock by talking generically about national security — did you know it's the President's "most important responsibility"? — and specifically — though it's beyond the scope of the question — about Iraq and Afghanistan, about the killing of bin Laden, and the President's "steady hand and clear vision."

It's Ryan's turn, and after "We mourn the loss of these four Americans who were murdered," he focuses on the video-protests story that — based on the State Department reports — we now know is completely wrong:
RYAN: When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack.

He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the U.N. he said six times — he talked about the YouTube video.

Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn’t we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an Al Qaida cell with arms?

This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTube video. Now they’re trying to blame the Romney-Ryan ticket for making this an issue.
He then uses some of his time to respond to the nonresponsive material Biden threw in (about Iraq and Afghanistan), but he ties it back to Libya by ending with:
RYAN: This Benghazi issue would be a tragedy in and of itself, but unfortunately it’s indicative of a broader problem. And that is what we are watching on our TV screens is the unraveling of the Obama foreign policy, which is making the (inaudible) more chaotic us less safe.
Raddatz follows up with Ryan, prodding him with what was the Obama administration's main talking point immediately after the attack:
RADDATZ: I just want to you about right in the middle of the crisis [sic]. Governor Romney, and you’re talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness; talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?

RYAN: On that same day, the Obama administration had the exact same position. Let’s recall that they disavowed their own statement that they had put out earlier in the day in Cairo. So we had the same position, but we will — it’s never too early to speak out for our values.
"Our values" seems to be one of his planned big themes, and he shifts away from that one thing Romney said to broader issues:
We should have spoken out right away when the green revolution was up and starting; when the mullahs in Iran were attacking their people. We should not have called Bashar Assad a reformer when he was turning his Russian-provided guns on his own people. We should always stand up for peace, for democracy, for individual rights.

And we should not be imposing these devastating defense cuts, because what that does when we equivocate on our values, when we show that we’re cutting down on defense, it makes us more weak. It projects weakness. And when we look weak, our adversaries are much more willing to test us. They’re more brazen in their attacks, and are allies are less willing to…

(CROSSTALK)

BIDEN: With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey.
That was Biden's first interruption (and first euphemism for "bullshit"). Raddatz rewards the interruption, presumably started to do what she said at the outset she'd do: "encourage a discussion between the candidates with follow-up questions." Better to encourage the crosstalk then to let the candidates get by plugging in prepared speeches.
RADDATZ: And why is that so?

BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all…
Not a single thing? Even the part where he accused you guys of lying about the video?
RADDATZ: Be specific.

BIDEN: I will be very specific. Number one, the — this lecture on embassy security — the congressman here cut embassy security in his budget by $300 million below what we asked for, number one. So much for the embassy security piece.
No, not "so much." All you've done is accuse Ryan of hypocrisy, for budget cutting. That does not address the failure to provide more security in Libya where it was most needed.
Number two, Governor Romney, before he knew the facts, before he even knew that our ambassador was killed, he was out making a political statement which was panned by the media around the world. And this talk about this — this weakness. I — I don’t understand what my friend’s talking about here.
Ryan defended Romney's making the statement, and Biden responds that it wasn't a good idea. That doesn't establish that something's "inaccurate." The factual deficiency is Biden's, and Biden is trying to distract us from that by disagreeing with opinions of Ryan's and portraying those differences of opinion as lies.
BIDEN: We — this is a president who’s gone out and done everything he has said he was going to do. This is a guy who’s repaired our alliances so the rest of the world follows us again. This is the guy who brought the entire world, including Russia and China, to bring about the most devastating — most devastating — the most devastating efforts on Iran to make sure that they in fact stop (inaudible). Look, I — I just — I mean, these guys bet against America all the time.
Raddatz directs the conversation "back to Libya" and the issue she raised at the outset that Biden has been avoiding:
RADDATZ: What were you first told about the attack? Why — why were people talking about protests? When people in the consulate first saw armed men attacking with guns, there were no protesters. Why did that go on (inaudible)?
Great intervention by Raddatz!
BIDEN: Because that was exactly what we were told by the intelligence community. The intelligence community told us that. 
That is, he denies that the administration made up the video story. He blames the intelligence community. How did the intelligence community make up something so bizarre? Public protests that didn't take place?
BIDEN: As they learned more facts about exactly what happened, they changed their assessment. 
But why would they make an assessment that included the report of vivid public events that didn't happen? That's unbelievable on its face. Malarkey!
BIDEN:  That’s why there’s also an investigation headed by Tom Pickering, a leading diplomat from the Reagan years, who is doing an investigation as to whether or not there are any lapses, what the lapses were, so that they will never happen again.

RADDATZ: And they wanted more security there.
Another great Raddatz intervention, this one calling attention to the very point highlighted by Foreign Policy.
BIDEN: Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view.
And that is the lie of the evening! How can that not be a lie?
BIDEN: That’s why I said we will get to the bottom of this. You know, usually when there’s a crisis, we pull together. We pull together as a nation. 
He's begging us not to look any further into the lie he just told. Don't fault us for the egregious fault we just committed.
BIDEN: But as I said, even before we knew what happened to the ambassador, the governor was holding a press conference — was holding a press conference. That’s not presidential leadership.
Please, he's begging us, look at that one thing Romney said. He criticized us, at a time when there should be no criticizing. Raddatz — really nicely! — picks up the theme of Romney's remark, which was about how the United States should not apologize:
RADDATZ: Mr. Ryan, I want to ask you about — the Romney campaign talks a lot about no apologies. He has a book called called “No Apologies.” Should the U.S. have apologized for Americans burning Korans in Afghanistan? Should the U.S. apologize for U.S. Marines urinating on Taliban corpses?

RYAN: Oh, gosh, yes. Urinating on Taliban corpses? What we should not apologize for…

RADDATZ: Burning Korans, immediately?

RYAN: What — what we should not be apologizing for are standing up for our values. 
See? "Our values" — that's a planned theme.
RYAN: What we should not be doing is saying to the Egyptian people, while Mubarak is cracking down on them, that he’s a good guy and, in the next week, say he ought to go.

What we should not be doing is rejecting claims for — for calls for more security in our barracks, in our Marine — we need Marines in Benghazi when the commander on the ground says we need more forces for security. There were requests for extra security; those requests were not honored.
Ryan should have hit Biden hard on his denial that there were requests for more security. Biden just lied, and he's already accused you of lying. 
RYAN: Look, this was the anniversary of 9/11. It was Libya, a country we knew we had Al Qaida cells there, as we know Al Qaida and its affiliates are on the rise in Northern Africa. And we did not give our ambassador in Benghazi a Marine detachment?

Of course there’s an investigation, so we can make sure that this never happens again, but when it comes to speaking up for our values, we should not apologize for those.
"Our values...." I think he's made a strategic decision to be positive, to resonate with the people's desire for optimism. He's not going to stoop to you're a liar/no, you're a liar ugliness. He'll keep calling us to a higher ground.
Here’s the problem. Look at all the various issues out there, and it’s unraveling before our eyes. The vice president talks about sanctions on Iran. They got — we’ve had four…
At that, Raddatz declares an end to the Libya segment. Ryan didn't take advantage of many openings he had. Biden provided the material Ryan could have used to crush him. He chose not to. And Biden, who was thrown horribly off balance by a very damaging opening question by the moderator, stayed on his feet to fight the next round. And boy, was he itching to fight.

UPDATE: A White House spokesman attempts to clear things up.

73 comments:

campy said...

But Obama is still AWESOME!!!

Matthew Sablan said...

WaPo on Libya security budget: "There were no specific cuts in embassy security, but Democrats have extrapolated the number, across the board, to come up with this statistic. But it is not a real number with true budget impact."

So, Biden lied there too.

Jim said...

Valerie Jarrett has a bigger security detail than Ambassador Stephens did.

CWJ said...

Biden has made a career out of passionate bluster, the substance of which is often questionable. In this case, he is actually lying.

Matthew Sablan said...

Here's the thing, CNN and others would let small lies slide about domestic policy. But foreign policy, in particular, is CNN's turf. They actually have credibility there and won't flush that away for ephemeral political favor. So, unfortunately, Biden chose the wrong hill to lie on.

And this is coming from a native of Delaware -- and I genuinely like Biden. The guy I saw last night is nothing like the guy I saw so often growing up.

aritai said...

What a wonderful opportunity for the campaign or one of the PACs (best if R&R do it though). Take the debate and edit it into a form of rebuttal (call it a “post-buttal”). Condense both sides words into summary bullet points. Rerun the debate window-in-window at 10-20x speed slowing where a point needs to be made – with a chess-like game clock in the background that’s totaling talk time, words, adding 10 seconds for every interruption by a candidate – since audience attention is diverted to “what did he say? Or was that just a rude noise?” and takes as long again to refocus on the interrupted messages, and 20 seconds for every interruption by the moderator (charged to the other side). Interspersed with this have the candidate (Mr. Ryan in this debate) that was interrupted complete every argument succinctly – and offer his version of the strongest counter argument by the other-side and then rebut that – but now with facts, figures, pictures and quotes in the sidebar and web links. And also replay parts of the debate where Mr. B contradicts himself – e.g. so we have great intelligence on Iran’s bomb and no intelligence on AQ in Libya?? And if we contradict ourselves – show it and explain why.

Edit the result into three versions – a number of 15 second TV spots, pointing at the web site or a simple memorable web search phrase. A low key and personable youtube version of 10 minutes or less with one or the other or both candidates making the points. And a web site version with the video, other relevant videos (both Mr. B and the administration’s past pronouncements) and lots of links, including observations and suggestions about how the media can do a better job than simply repeating one side’s talking points (and teach this by example on the web site’s presentation of the arguments – similar to how some voter guides present initiatives).

To be really helpful (or cruel - where the opponents have been childish, unprofessional – and disrespectful of his employers – the audience), make it a team response – i.e. combine the material and topics from each debate as they occur and present the results in summary form with using bullet point summaries weaving the candidates’ videos into a montage (including media montages where they all reading from the same leftist meme-of-the-day). And since the web presentation can be infinitely deep – use it to make a fair representation of each side’s argument and the other side’s rebuttal. And since they undoubtedly have reams of debate prep materials – let the editors / producers draw from all that content. Plus either have the NMA folks or one of their competitors produce something funny enough (daily as we get closer to the election) to draw visitors to the site.

e.g. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iNhUI8ktHuw

AlphaLiberal said...

There are a lot of layers of people between the folks on the ground and the Vice President. That request could have been knocked down at any level and Biden would be saying the truth.

Ryan was revealed to have no real answers on Syria, on Iran, on Libya. All he can do is attack. He has no solutions.

He also wants to make Medicare into a voucher program and throw seniors to the mercy of the health insurance companies. What a jerk.

TWM said...

Ryan got cut off by Raddatz at least three times when he was in the middle of making important points, this being one of them.

End result of this debate is MSNBC and the far left loved Biden's performance, while the rest of us - conservatives and independents alike - wondered if he was off his meds. He was in the end a lying buffoon, whose smirks, smiles and sometimes laughter were totally out of place in such a serious setting.

Ryan on the other hand came across as serious, calm and knowledgable, if more than a little nervous.

It's a wash when it comes to how people feel about Obama, but Biden failed to sway even one independent.

m stone said...

This is an administration tactic that is standard now: deny the facts, the truth, repeatedly, under the cover of most of the MSM. By the time anyone not in the conservative blogosphere tracks down the truth, everyone has moved on. Minimal impact. And then there's another significant voter plurality who won't even bother to check.

rehajm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Matthew Sablan said...

"That request could have been knocked down at any level and Biden would be saying the truth."

-- The administration goes all the way down, like turtles.

Ignorance is Bliss said...

Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again.

It depends on who he means by we. If he mean the entire administration, that is clearly a lie. If he means just himself and the President, then it might be true, but irrelevant. The President is responsible for the entire administration. The buck stops there.

rhhardin said...

We're mourning the four Americans because of the women's vote.

Guys are more into bouncing the rubble somewhere.

Tim said...

Excellent work, Ann.

Do you think it will change the minds of any Obama voters?

If so, which ones?

And, why?

pm317 said...

Excellent analysis.

And it all went downhill for Raddatz after that opening question.

exhelodrvr1 said...

In re defense spending, Raddatz and Biden displayed the lack of understanding of basic arithmetic that most people on the left seem to have - stopping a yet-to-be implemented cut in defense spending is NOT increasing defense spending.

Tim said...

"What a jerk."

And the record of success for your president is, what, exactly?

What a jerk.

pm317 said...

Malarkey (I won't even bother to look up correct spelling).

As far as I know Biden is the ONLY guy I have heard using that word. Why does he do that? It is so irritating. Can't he speak clear and good quality English?

CWJ said...

Mathew, I was wondering if the MSM would catch Biden equating a "cut" to the entire budget with embassy security specifically.

ABC this morning highlighted that exchange and allowed Biden's mischaracterization to stand without comment.

Fernandinande said...

"Was Biden ignorant of all this, was he lying at the debate, or did he mean to assert that the State Department officials were lying?"

Certainly the first two.

furious_a said...

Valerie Jarrett has a bigger security detail than Ambassador Stephens did.

The Obama administration couldn't find Marines for Amb. Stevens' security detail, but they could find Marines to carry his coffin. There's that.

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jr565 said...

BIDEN: Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again. And by the way, at the time we were told exactly — we said exactly what the intelligence community told us that they knew. That was the assessment. And as the intelligence community changed their view, we made it clear they changed their view.


Who's we? Certainly some people were told that security was needed. Is he trying to say that the state department didn't come to him and tell him personally that more security was needed?
Why can't he and Obama simply say, that they dropped the ball and that heads will roll? Instead Biden and Stephanie cutter are out there dissembling and lying and trying to make it a Romney/Ryan issue for even bringing it up.

No, it's an issue because apparently we aren't protecting our embassies adequately in dangerous countries and allowing our ambassadors to be murdered by mobs. Commenting on that or being criticsl of the lack of response is apparently making it a political issue.
If this were Bush's presidency would it not be an issue for Biden/Obama?

AprilApple said...

Turns out, Biden lied. Which makes him a liar.

TosaGuy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Martha was there to cover Joe's ass (too bad somebody forgot to tell her she needed to cover his mouth, too).

AlphaLiberal said...

There are a lot of layers of people between the folks on the ground and the Vice President. That request could have been knocked down at any level and Biden would be saying the truth.

In the military, there are 3 responses - Yes, sir; No, sir; and No excuse, sir.

The Hildabeast was supposed to know and make Zero and Joe aware.

No excuse, sir.

Supposedly, Joe won, according to some precincts, but the fact Alpha is here says differently.

TosaGuy said...

"There are a lot of layers of people between the folks on the ground and the Vice President. That request could have been knocked down at any level and Biden would be saying the truth."

Uh huh. Do you truly believe that?

Ambassors getting killed are a big deal.....big enough that I would think the president would demand that information.

If he didn't demand that information, then his priorities and instinct are NOT the in the right place for a President of the United States.

TWM said...

If Barry and Biden truly didn't know that there were requests for security, and people at State did nothing about them, why are people not being fired there right and left? Hillary first, of course.

DADvocate said...

He also wants to make Medicare into a voucher program and throw seniors to the mercy of the health insurance companies. What a jerk.

I'm a senior and I'll take my chances with Romney/Ryan way over Obama/Biden. And, I don't need assholes like you telling me which I should be forced to take.

bagoh20 said...

I know people have partisan loyalties, but do you people really want 4 more years of rampant incompetence followed by lies told right to your face about it. I know you may like Obama and what he says, and what he wants, but do you really think it's worth it if this is how actual things go down day after day, month after month.

This administration is primarily about failure and deception. In the first term they have committed and covered up more scandals, including many involving numerous murders, than any administration in history. Domestically: no budgets, no plan, no spending cuts, no jobs, no hope. Do you want the next four years to be nothing but more of this?

Even if you don't like Romney, you can't really want more of this, and it's clear that a lot more is what's coming.

craftygirl said...

AlphaLiberal said...

"Ryan was revealed to have no real answers on Syria, on Iran, on Libya. All he can do is attack. He has no solutions."

Biden clearly won that debate. He addressed all of Ryan's lies with intelligence, experience, and force. The GOP has nothing to say (as if they would or could have done anything differently in Benghazi and now Obama's entire foreign policy is a wash? Malarkey.) so they're whining about his style. They just wish Ryan has some.

rehajm said...

In another era, or with another party in power, this scandal would get it's own name, and would be enough take down leadership. Despite Rep Issa's efforts, how likely is this just about the end of it?

Matthew Sablan said...

Crafty: You realize that most major points Biden brought up about Libya were, how shall we say, false?

DADvocate said...

It's interesting to evaluate the "substance." But, as the trivial saying goes, "Actions speak louder than words." Biden's actions last night said a lot, none of it good.

furious_a said...

Biden: And secondly, we will get to the bottom of [Benghazi], and whatever — wherever the facts lead us, wherever they lead us....

...right after we get to the bottom of who authorized Fast&Furious. We cannot comment because of the ongoing investigation.

kcom said...

The one time I flipped on the debate, for about 15 seconds, mostly what I saw was Martha Raddatz sitting there with a horrified look on her face. Like she was going to start crying. I think it was about the time that Ann said Smokin' Joe (was he on crack?) had been yelling for 15 minutes.

craftygirl said...

Sablan: You realize most everything Romney said last week was false?

Seeing Red said...

Barry was woken up, went back to sleep, then flew to Vegas for a fundraiser.

If that is the line they're going with, they didn't know, then Hillary's head should have already been served up on a pike.

But that's not what is happening.

Even Glen Greenwald is bitching, although it's in The Independent.


Via Insty:

Following Romney’s strong debate performance last week, political analysts have been working overtime trying to explain his boost in the polls. What did Romney say or do to pull voters away from the President? The popular theory is that Romney successfully tacked to the center, winning over moderate voters leery of his more conservative positions.

But one chart from The Monkey Cage (h/t Matt Yglesias) suggests a simpler explanation. According to a number of recent YouGov surveys, voters have consistently rated themselves as ideologically closer to Romney than Obama—even in the months when Obama was leading the polls. . . . Romney didn’t shift ideologically; he passed a threshold test.



They're looking for reasons & the cranky old uncle might not have helped Barry.

Seeing Red said...

Top Men are on both investigations.....


We're never going to know.

Brennan said...

Ryan was revealed to have no real answers on Syria, on Iran, on Libya. All he can do is attack. He has no solutions.

Defining a "boots on the groud" condition? He did that last night.

Defining a strategy for containing Syria? Support Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. He did that last night.

This debate is going to change rapidly because Obama has screwed up North Africa with a strategy to participate from the sidelines.

pm317 said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Seeing Red said...

-- They just wish Ryan has some.--

And there it is.

rehajm said...

what I saw was Martha Raddatz sitting there with a horrified look on her face.

I think that's just her face...

pm317 said...

Biden lied about voting against the two wars too.

furious_a said...

There are a lot of layers of people between the folks on the ground and the Vice President. That request could have been knocked down at any level and Biden would be saying the truth.

That's the best excuse you have? That the President, the Vice President, and Secretary of State can't manage their respective chains of command? That there's no accountability for deadly national security blunders? That the bureacracy ate their homework?

You cannot be serious.

Thorley Winston said...


Here's the thing, CNN and others would let small lies slide about domestic policy. But foreign policy, in particular, is CNN's turf. They actually have credibility there and won't flush that away for ephemeral political favor.

I think that CNN’s credibility on foreign policy may not be what it used to be.

Hagar said...

There is somrthing peculiar here.

When they (anyone) discuss this White House assertion about "the intelligence community," whether they are for or against, they refer to the State Department reports and statements on the subject, and only the State Department. But the State Department is not "the intelligence community." Where are the statements from the CIA, NSA, and military intelligence services?

And the White House makes statements like "the intelligence community assured us..."
Exactly who dat?
It kind of boggles the mind that our "intelligence community" was not well aware of what was going on in Benghazi, including the State Department messages flowing back and forth.

The only thing I can think of is that our official intelligence services have been bringing the White House intelligence it did not want to hear, so they got sidelined, and the White House found itself some sources of news more to its liking.

pauldar said...

We had a total of 8 of us over, even split male and female. The women here laughed and made fun of VP Biden a heck of a lot more than us guys and we did our fair share. The consensus was that the ladies would not allow that angry Biden anywhere near their children if they were desperate for a babysitter.

ricpic said...

This is an administration tactic that is standard by now: deny the facts, the truth, repeatedly, under the cover of most of the MSM. By the time anyone not in the conservative blogosphere tracks down the truth, everyone has moved on.

Apologizing to terrorists for a terrorist attack that included the brutalization and murder of our ambassador is a story that won't go away.

Matthew Sablan said...

You'd think that, but even the NYT didn't front page the hearings.

MayBee said...

The question not asked:

Mr. Biden, when did you and President Obama find out there was an attack on our Libyan embassy, and what did you do upon learning about it?

MayBee said...

BIDEN: That’s why I said we will get to the bottom of this. You know, usually when there’s a crisis, we pull together. We pull together as a nation.

Yes, I noticed that the minute Obama came out with his statement.

He didn't want to talk about how this happened, or who caused it. He wanted us to go into national mourning and not ask questions.

Even in the very first moments of 9/11, when we were coming together, people wanted to know what had happened and who had perpetrated the act.

jr565 said...

Crafty: You realize that most major points Biden brought up about Libya were, how shall we say, false?


Or as Joe Biden would say, malarkey. And that's true for all his statements on Iran as well.

And don't get me started on his lies about how we were in wars that were bankrupting is because of Ryan's votes to take us to war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

You do know, Craftygirl that Biden voted for both wars right?i'll repeat, so that you actually respond and not accuse others of lying, you do know that Biden voted for both wars right?
YOu do know that Obama escalated the war in Afghanistan right?
Irregardless of whether those were good policy decisions or not, if the argument is that they were fought on borrowed money we don't have from China, then surely democrats like Biden can't vote for both and then not get to pass the buck onto others about wars of choice on China's dime. Oh, and do you think escalating in Afganistan wouldn't cost money! Money that's borrowed from China?
When it came to foreign policy nearly everything out of Bidens mouth was a lie or dissembling or demagoguery of some point.

Bruce Hayden said...

Somewhat worrisome to me. Either Biden (and that theoretically includes his boss, President Obama) are not getting the intelligence that they need, or are ignoring it, and lying through their teeth.

Yes, sure, there is a bureaucracy in place that has its own agenda, but the Dems claim that they can control it better than the Reps could. And, we have elected civilian leadership there for a reason, just as we do with the military. If the President is not being offered the best intelligence possible, then he should have made changes, long ago. He isn't an innocent bystander, but the guy who has voluntarily taken the responsibility of running our government. That is is his primary job, not playing golf and going to campaign fund raisers.

And they really can't blame it on Hillary! and her State Department. Obama put her there, despite her having essentially zero qualifications, other than being married to a former President. Sure, she may have been over her head, and mired in her own liberal orthodoxy, but Obama is responsible for putting her there and trusting her to do her job.

Of course, we know that Obama mostly skips his intelligence PDBs, and so shouldn't be surprised that they didn't know about the threats to our consulate. And, yes, he was too involved in fund raising to make the PDBs the week before the 9/11 anniversary.

As to the lying, Taranto had an interesting article yesterday: Best of the Web Today: Truth or Consequences. One of the takeaways was that if you want to convince the American people that we need more government, and not less, then it doesn't help pointing out that politicians lie through their teeth, as they are the ones we are trusting to run that bigger government. (And, yes, I think that I probably took that on a tangent).

MayBee said...

As to the lying, Taranto had an interesting article yesterday: Best of the Web Today: Truth or Consequences. One of the takeaways was that if you want to convince the American people that we need more government, and not less, then it doesn't help pointing out that politicians lie through their teeth, as they are the ones we are trusting to run that bigger government. (And, yes, I think that I probably took that on a tangent).

Exactly!
And how can they convince us they can control the government, even if they are completely honest people?

How can it possibly be that the president of the united states, upon hearing his ambassador had just been killed, couldn't get the eyewitnesses on the phone to find out what happened that night?

If he can't do that, how can he manage anything bigger?

jr565 said...

Craftygirl. What's your response to this whopper from Biden.
“By the way, they talk about this great recession like it fell out of the sky–like, ‘Oh my goodness, where did it come from?’” Biden said. “It came from this man voting to put two wars on a credit card, at the same time, put a prescription drug plan on the credit card, a trillion dollar tax cut for the very wealthy.”

“I was there, I voted against them,” Biden continued. “I said, no, we can’t afford that.”
That's what we like to refer to as tall tales and legends. Malarkey, bull crap, lies, dissembling, bogus, crap, etc.
If you can't admit that Biden is in fact lying about this then YOU are the liar.

Marshal said...

Ignorance is Bliss said...
Well, we weren’t told they wanted more security there. We did not know they wanted more security again.

It depends on who he means by we. If he mean the entire administration, that is clearly a lie. If he means just himself and the President, then it might be true, but irrelevant. The President is responsible for the entire administration. The buck stops there.


This is exactly my comment, so I'll just repost for emphasis.

Hagar said...

Hillary! was (and is?) secretary-treasurer and chief legal counsel of Clinton, Inc. for 30-odd years, and neither of them has yet served a day in jail. I do not think you can charge her with having "no qualifications."

That said, I do not think she is in control of the State Department. Probably nobody is, and that is as intended by the White House.

In Benghazi there obviously was a wide gap between the requests from the career State Department and the responses from the political appointees, but I do not see evidence of Hillary's influence with either.

traditionalguy said...

Biden is so old he has no idea that the internet has made confident spouting of delusional and imaginary "facts: no longer a good strategy.

Sad.

Ryan won the night simply by looking at Biden with truth in his eyes. Con men cannot stand that.

MayBee said...

I'm seeing on Twitter the WH has said Biden was only speaking for himself with the "we didn't know they wanted more security" comment.

I haven't seen the link for that yet.

PatCA said...

I saw the opening question as a gift to Biden! In fact, her whole demeanor.

Why didn't she ask him to explain his administration's behavior instead of hinting at a convenient excuse, "Wasn’t this a massive intelligence failure?" Actually, no, it wasn't, as we all know now and they knew from the start, but Biden used her helpful excuse later.

Then, she cut off Ryan's answer to deliver her next kiss to Biden, about Romney's supposed gaffe in issuing a statement.

Ryan had two options: jump in the fray against 2 debaters or take the calm, high road. He chose well.

Roger J. said...

While Mr Biden's performance may haven given his democratic base a plus up, he lost indies and women. No one likes an asshole, and Joe Biden is an unfettered asshole. Good job Joe.

MayBee said...

OK, so The Hill reports the WH is saying Biden and Obama didn't know they had asked for more security.

How does that make Biden's answer good?
How much attention was Obama (or Biden) paying to Libya?

Roger J. said...

BTW--I, and my lady friend who watched the debate with me, were a bit off put by Biden's references to Prime Minister Netanyahu as "Bibi" Somehow I suspect Biden wouldnt have the balls to call the Israeli "bibi" to his face. But Biden is a serial liar.

Roger J. said...

On Mr Biden's behalf, he has more hair plugs than balls. Some one stick a fork in this poseur. He is an idiot.

Richard Dolan said...

"And Biden, who was thrown horribly off balance by a very damaging opening question by the moderator, stayed on his feet to fight the next round."

Well, if standing on your feet means telling a whopper of a lie (pointed out clearly in your own post) and not being struck down by a vengeful God, I suppose he did. You noticed the lie -- it would have been hard to miss for anyone paying the slightest attention to the Benghazi story -- as have many others. That will now play out.

It also puts the MSM in a tough spot. They noticed the lie too -- Andrea Mitchell last night, and Mark Halperin this morning, among many others. There's no hiding it, and (as Halperin said) it's a story that the MSM is starting to pursue with a vengeance. By the time of the next O vs. R debate, the Dems will be in an impossible spot. Someone is bound to ask O about Biden's lie. What does O say? Once the topic is raised, he has no good answer.

Bryan C said...

"OK, so The Hill reports the WH is saying Biden and Obama didn't know they had asked for more security."

What? Are they claiming they didn't know that as of last night?

I don't expect a President to know everything. But responsibility for foreign policy is part of the job, even when your officials do things that you don't personally know about.

So we have a President who told his employees in the State Department, either implicitly or directly, that embassy security in the Middle East on September 11th was to be treated primarily as a political decision.

Is that, at least, something the President and Vice President can be expected to know something about?

MayBee said...

What? Are they claiming they didn't know that as of last night?

I think they are just saying, in general, the WH didn't know the security situation in Libya.
Specifically, they didn't know the embassy had been asking for more security or at least not to have their security force pulled from them.

Considering there were several assaults and threats on the consulate, other western interests in the area, and on the ambassador himself, I would love to know how involved Obama was with Libya at all.
Even so, Obama is in charge of the State Department and the Intelligence agencies. If they are making dangerous choices, that's still on him.

Did he know there had been threats? Who did he talk to about Libya? This was his pet project, after all.

Texan99 said...

Maybe an administration shouldn't be destroyed by a few careless denials of knowledge or responsibility by a silly hack drafted to serve as vice president.

But for the White House to stick to Biden's story today in press conferences -- if any voters are paying the slightest attention, that should be the last straw. "It's not our fault. Our people didn't tell us." What possible conclusion can there be beyond the two possibilities: a lie, or a confession of criminal incompetence as a leader? If a real president found that his staff had been misleading him like that, heads would be rolling.

There are few things uglier than flimsy attempts to preserve deniability. And I had to listen to these people charge Bush with lying when he failed to realize Saddam Hussein was bluffing about WMD (assuming they weren't all simply spirited across the Syrian border during the excruciating six-month rush to war)? Suddenly the standard for a president is not effortless omniscience? Suddenly the president can deny knowledge of anything he wasn't informed of directly in front of the cameras, with a transcript?

Unknown said...

Please share this note with other friends: As I read more about the Benghazi attack, I am blown away by the unbelievable partisanship of the major networks in protecting Obama from the biggest scandal of his administration. It is 100% clear that the administration knew within 24 hours that it was a terrorist attack and not an out of control mob protesting a video. The possibility that terrorists with links to al-Qaeda were responsible would look bad for Obama since we have been told that al-Qaeda was on the path to defeat. In fact Obama had received reports in August that al-Qaeda was gaining strength in Libya. We have learned that the survivors of the assault were debriefed within 24 hours, and they confirmed that there was no protest beforehand. It was a straightforward military style raid on the compound. On Sept. 12th the McClatchy website posted an article on the attack. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/12/168270/attack-on-us-consulate-in-libya.html The key sentence states,”In Washington, two administration officials, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, corroborated much of Bishari’s description of what happened.” The administration officials already knew what had occurred at the consulate because the survivors had been debriefed. They confirmed to the McClatchy reporter that the Libyan was correct, there were no protesters, it was a full scale assault, well planned in advance and timed for September 11th. The Libyan government never accepted the story that this was anything other than a well planned terrorist assault. In fact the day after the attack the one Libyan guard who survived said there were no protesters and it was an sudden assault on the compound. But our President already knew this information. What purpose was served in not telling the country what the President had learned from the survivors? Why spread a lie about a spontaneous protest turning violent?

The President, Hilary Clinton, and Susan Rice perpetrated a lie, long after the facts were clear. The country deserves an explanation for our President's actions in intentionally misleading the public and the world. At the United Nations the President had the opportunity to discuss the dangers of a strengthening al-Qaeda. Instead, he blamed the attack on a video. If the Congress had not been controlled by the GOP, this deception may have never come to light. The details of the assault would have been kept a secret. Suddenly just before the Congressional hearings, a State Department official tells reporters that the State Department never accepted the premise that this was a spontaneous event caused by anger over a video. Apparently the State Department listed the event as a terrorist attack within 24 hours, but Clinton was playing the role of a politician and not head of the State Department when she lied to the public.

President Obama is proud that he gave the order to kill Osama bin Laden, but if al-Qaeda is strengthening and attacking our diplomats, this diminishes the value of his death and it could be argued that we have made him a martyr. We have killed many al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan but the President of Pakistan says that we are simply creating more radicals with our drone attacks. I cannot know President Obama's reasons for blaming the consulate attack on a mob and not Islamic terrorists, but it appears to have been a decision based on politics. The President still refuses to admit that he knew the truth within the first day. I think that the country deserves to know why he made the decision to mislead everyone.

It is obvious that this issue could end Obama's chances of being re-elected, and the mainstream press may never confront the President. It would only take one question, “Mr. President, when did you learn from the survivors that there were no protesters and that the attack seemed planned and well organized.”

I have sent a copy of this to ABC, NBC, and CBS but I doubt they will do anything. Please spread the word and send your own copy to the major networks. Don Woods -thanks

Unknown said...

Please share this note with other friends: As I read more about the Benghazi attack, I am blown away by the unbelievable partisanship of the major networks in protecting Obama from the biggest scandal of his administration. It is 100% clear that the administration knew within 24 hours that it was a terrorist attack and not an out of control mob protesting a video. The possibility that terrorists with links to al-Qaeda were responsible would look bad for Obama since we have been told that al-Qaeda was on the path to defeat. In fact Obama had received reports in August that al-Qaeda was gaining strength in Libya. We have learned that the survivors of the assault were debriefed within 24 hours, and they confirmed that there was no protest beforehand. It was a straightforward military style raid on the compound. On Sept. 12th the McClatchy website posted an article on the attack. http://www.mcclatchydc.com/2012/09/12/168270/attack-on-us-consulate-in-libya.html The key sentence states,”In Washington, two administration officials, briefing reporters on the condition of anonymity, corroborated much of Bishari’s description of what happened.” The administration officials already knew what had occurred at the consulate because the survivors had been debriefed. They confirmed to the McClatchy reporter that the Libyan was correct, there were no protesters, it was a full scale assault, well planned in advance and timed for September 11th. The Libyan government never accepted the story that this was anything other than a well planned terrorist assault. In fact the day after the attack the one Libyan guard who survived said there were no protesters and it was an sudden assault on the compound. But our President already knew this information. What purpose was served in not telling the country what the President had learned from the survivors? Why spread a lie about a spontaneous protest turning violent?

The President, Hilary Clinton, and Susan Rice perpetrated a lie, long after the facts were clear. The country deserves an explanation for our President's actions in intentionally misleading the public and the world. At the United Nations the President had the opportunity to discuss the dangers of a strengthening al-Qaeda. Instead, he blamed the attack on a video. If the Congress had not been controlled by the GOP, this deception may have never come to light. The details of the assault would have been kept a secret. Suddenly just before the Congressional hearings, a State Department official tells reporters that the State Department never accepted the premise that this was a spontaneous event caused by anger over a video. Apparently the State Department listed the event as a terrorist attack within 24 hours, but Clinton was playing the role of a politician and not head of the State Department when she lied to the public.

President Obama is proud that he gave the order to kill Osama bin Laden, but if al-Qaeda is strengthening and attacking our diplomats, this diminishes the value of his death and it could be argued that we have made him a martyr. We have killed many al-Qaeda leaders in Pakistan but the President of Pakistan says that we are simply creating more radicals with our drone attacks. I cannot know President Obama's reasons for blaming the consulate attack on a mob and not Islamic terrorists, but it appears to have been a decision based on politics. The President still refuses to admit that he knew the truth within the first day. I think that the country deserves to know why he made the decision to mislead everyone.

It is obvious that this issue could end Obama's chances of being re-elected, and the mainstream press may never confront the President. It would only take one question, “Mr. President, when did you learn from the survivors that there were no protesters and that the attack seemed planned and well organized.”

I have sent a copy of this to ABC, NBC, and CBS but I doubt they will do anything. Please spread the word and send your own copy to the major networks. Don Woods -thanks

Kirk Parker said...

"I'm seeing on Twitter the WH has said Biden was only speaking for himself with the 'we didn't know they wanted more security' comment."

They may be onto something; the list of stuff I'm willing to believe that Biden doesn't know... ... ... well, let's just say it's a pretty long list.

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