'Morning Joe' Panel Skeptical of White House Spin on Benghazi Email

Friday, 02 May 2014 12:17 PM

By Wanda Carruthers

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MSNBC's "Morning Joe" panel wasn't buying the narrative the White House was selling when it came to the explanation for the newly released email about the 2012 Benghazi bombing.

At issue in particular was the explanation by White House Press Secretary Jay Carney in news briefings this week stressing that the email did not pertain to Benghazi specifically, but to instability in the region.

"For somebody that's known Jay Carney for a long time and likes Jay Carney personally, it's very tough to see him conducting himself in the way he's conducting himself," "Morning Joe" host Joe Scarborough said Friday.

National Journal writer Ron Fournier agreed that it was "painful yesterday to watch (Jay Carney's) briefing and get Baghdad flashbacks."

The email was from White House communications adviser Ben Rhodes to several administration officials. In explaining the Benghazi attack, he emphasized the need to "underscore that these protests are rooted in an Internet video, and not a broader failure of policy."

Government watchdog group Judicial Watch obtained the email through a Freedom of Information Act request and released its contents Tuesday.

Fournier maintained Carney's continued insistence to defend the explanation was damaging the credibility of the White House communications team, and also the administration of President Barack Obama.

"They were only worried about winning one news cycle at a time. And, in doing so, they've hurt their credibility. These kind of issues splash over to the president's credibility across the board," Fournier said Friday.

David Gregory, host of NBC's "Meet the Press," told the "Morning Joe" panel that the fact the administration didn't include the email with other requested documents about the Benghazi bombing "created more problems" for the White House.

The White House press office had grown "too big," Chuck Todd, host of MSNBC's "The Daily Rundown," told the "Morning Joe" panel Friday. He maintained the only reason it was a story was because "the email was withheld."

Scarborough, a former Florida Republican congressman, suggested it would be wise for the White House to release all information about the Benghazi attack.

"I'm just curious if it wouldn't be best for the White House to cut its losses now and get this behind us, because it's only a big deal if they keep covering it up," Scarborough said.

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