Obama: Benghazi Talking Points Fight a 'Side Show' - KiiiTV.com South Texas, Corpus Christi, Coastal Bend

Obama: Benghazi Talking Points Fight a 'Side Show'

Posted: Updated:

WASHINGTON (CNN) - GOP outrage over a changed set of talking points related to September's attack in Benghazi is a political "side show," President Barack Obama argued Monday, asserting the tragedy was being used for political gain by his rivals.

The Republicans who claim Obama's administration was intentionally misleading in the way they characterized the Benghazi attack are ignoring key facts and sullying the memory of the four Americans who died, the president claimed.

"We've got a whole bunch of people in the State Department who consistently say, 'You know what, I'm willing to step up, I'm willing to put myself in harm's way because I think that this mission is important in terms of serving the United States and advancing our interests around the globe.' And so we dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus," he said.

Obama was speaking at a press availability alongside British Prime Minister David Cameron, in Washington to discuss next month's G8 summit in Northern Ireland.

Republicans' accusations of an administration-led cover up in the immediate aftermath of the Benghazi attack were fueled last week by the release of internal e-mails showing top administration officials scrubbing any mention of al Qaeda from talking points given to members of Congress and Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.

The unclassified talking points have become a political flashpoint in a long-running battle between the administration and Republicans, who say that officials knew the attack last September 11 was a planned terror operation while they were telling the public it was an act of violence that grew out of a demonstration over a video produced in the United States that insulted Islam.

That was the story that Rice told five days later when she made the rounds of all five Sunday morning television talk shows.

The attack occurred two months before the November election, in which President Barack Obama's campaign often pointed out that it had "decimated" al Qaeda.

Obama noted Monday that he referred broadly to "acts of terror" in a Rose Garden statement the day after the attack, and that Republicans pointing to an administration "cover up" were ignoring stated facts by himself and other officials.

"The whole thing defies logic, and the fact that this keeps getting churned out, frankly has a lot to do with political motivations," Obama said, echoing other Democrats who say the GOP focus on Benghazi is founded in an attempt to discredit former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the leading 2016 Democratic presidential prospect.

Obama also noted the e-mails released last week had been reviewed by members of Congress months ago, and not flagged at the time as indicative of an attempt to conceal the truth.

"They reviewed them several months ago, and concluded that in fact there was nothing afoul in terms of the process we had used, and suddenly three days ago this gets spun up as if there's something new to the story. There's no there there," Obama said.

Over the weekend, Republicans renewed their criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of the Benghazi attack aftermath, claiming an independent review earlier this year didn't cast a wide enough net in seeking answers to still-outstanding questions.

Critics also questioned why Clinton herself wasn't assigned more blame in the report.

"Obviously she was the decision maker at the State Department," Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-New Hampshire, said on CBS "Face the Nation," adding she was "surprised" Clinton wasn't probed further.

The co-chair of the review board, former Ambassador Thomas Pickering, defended his work on CNN's "State of the Union," arguing his panel was charged specifically with investigating security decisions, which he said were not made at Clinton's level.

Pickering's report, released late last year, found "systemic failures and leadership and management deficiencies" at the State Department in the lead-up to the attack in Benghazi, which left four Americans dead. As a result, four State Department officials were disciplined immediately after the report's release. One resigned, while three others were placed on administrative leave and relieved of their duties.

Pickering, along with the panel's other co-chair, former Admiral Mike Mullen, were formally asked for depositions about their board's practices Monday by Rep. Darrell Issa, the Republican chairman of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee.

  • Passion Play Draws Hundreds of Spectators to Cole Park

    Passion Play Draws Hundreds of Spectators to Cole Park

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:25 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:25:28 GMT
    Many of you started the day watching the 72nd annual Passion Play at the Cole Park. Whether it's a family tradition, or your first time, the production tells the story of the meaning of Easter. The crowd got to witness a beautiful sunrise Sunday morning. The Passion Play depicts the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dozens of actors, along with music, and costumes helped create an over powering experience for those in attendance. John Siotos who attended the Passion Play told 3...More >>
    Many of you started the day watching the 72nd annual Passion Play at the Cole Park. Whether it's a family tradition, or your first time, the production tells the story of the meaning of Easter. The crowd got to witness a beautiful sunrise Sunday morning. The Passion Play depicts the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Dozens of actors, along with music, and costumes helped create an over powering experience for those in attendance. John Siotos who attended the Passion Play told 3...More >>
  • Man Who Shot Cop in Fredericksburg In Jail After Chase

    Man Who Shot Cop in Fredericksburg In Jail After Chase

    Sunday, April 20 2014 7:15 PM EDT2014-04-20 23:15:13 GMT
    A suspect accused of shooting a Fredericksburg police officer is in custody in San Antonio after leading police on a chase spanning several counties.It started in Fredericksburg around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.According to the Fredericksburg Police Department, an officer was making a routine traffic stop when the 31-year-old Robert Adrian Rendon fired several shots at him from inside the car.The officer was hit twice, once in the stomach and once in the neck.He was able to radio for help and was ta...More >>
    A suspect accused of shooting a Fredericksburg police officer is in custody in San Antonio after leading police on a chase spanning several counties.It started in Fredericksburg around 1:30 a.m. Saturday.According to the Fredericksburg Police Department, an officer was making a routine traffic stop when the 31-year-old Robert Adrian Rendon fired several shots at him from inside the car.The officer was hit twice, once in the stomach and once in the neck.He was able to radio for help and was ta...More >>
  • With Sales Now Legal, Cannabis Lovers Take Denver's 420 Weekend To New Highs

    With Sales Now Legal, Cannabis Lovers Take Denver's 420 Weekend To New Highs

    DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Coming to the Mile High City this weekend was the perfect 65th birthday present for Karen Stevenson. She and her husband drove out of the Bible Belt to experience, for the first time, what it's like to buy and smoke weed legally. She wore a T-shirt featuring an image of María Sabina, a late-Mexican shaman, puffing on a joint -- a shirt that, until this day, she never dared to wear outside her Cape Girardeau, Missouri, home. "It's kind of like being a part of history...More >>
    DENVER, Colorado (CNN) -- Coming to the Mile High City this weekend was the perfect 65th birthday present for Karen Stevenson. She and her husband drove out of the Bible Belt to experience, for the first time, what it's like to buy and smoke weed legally. She wore a T-shirt featuring an image of María Sabina, a late-Mexican shaman, puffing on a joint -- a shirt that, until this day, she never dared to wear outside her Cape Girardeau, Missouri, home. "It's kind of like being a part of history...More >>
Powered by WorldNow
All content © Copyright 2000 - 2014 WorldNow and KIII. All Rights Reserved.
For more information on this site, please read our Privacy Policy and Terms of Service.