Romney: Benghazi Talking Points Did Not Cost Him Election

Saturday, 18 May 2013 06:14 PM

By Todd Beamon

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Mitt Romney told Jay Leno that the Obama administration’s controversial talking points on the attacks that killed four Americans in Benghazi last Sept. 11 did not cost him the White House.

“I don’t think it would have changed the election,” Romney told the “Tonight Show” host on Friday.

“I don’t go back and look at: ‘Gee, if this would have happened differently, could I have won?’” added Romney, the 2012 Republican presidential nominee. “I wish I had won. I wish I was there now.”

The talking points have drawn the ire of Capitol Hill Republicans after reports revealed that the Obama administration’s narrative on the assaults had gone through 12 iterations by various government agencies, including the State Department and White House.

The points were used by U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice five days after the attacks — in which Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans died — on five Sunday morning talk shows.

Rice said that the incident began as a peaceful protest against an anti-Muslim film on YouTube that was later “hijacked” by militants.

Some 100 emails and notes released by the administration this week appear to show State Department officials going out of their way to assure there would be no inference that the agency had ignored safety warnings from the CIA. The talking points were also scrubbed of any reference tying the attack to an al-Qaida affiliated organization.

“We had American men and women, serving our country in a hostile place, and there was no effort to rescue them,” Romney told Leno. “There wasn’t an effort made that we know of.

“There were special forces there in Tripoli that could have been brought in by C-30 [aircraft] and brought in to help in a rescue effort. They were told to stand down. And the question is why? Who told you that? What was the chain of command?

“That’s something worth looking at,” the former Massachusetts governor added. “If an American is in harm’s way, particularly one who is serving our country, gosh, we ought to go — with every effort we have — to protect that individual.”

Romney’s comments brought applause from the audience.

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