GOP Senators Furious Over Obama Remark on Benghazi Attack

Friday, 19 Oct 2012 08:50 AM

By Greg McDonald

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Republicans Thursday expressed fury at President Barack Obama’s latest response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, all but accusing him of dismissing the deaths of four Americans killed in the Sept. 11 assault.
 
On Thursday night, Obama acknowledged during an appearance on Comedy Central’s "The Daily Show" with Jon Stewart, that the response to the Sept. 11 attack was “not optimal,” given the deaths of Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans.
 
Later, appearing on Fox News’ “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren,” Arizona Sen. John McCain and New Hampshire Sen. Kelly Ayotte called the statement “astounding” and “inappropriate.”

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“Even from someone like the president, who has never known what these kinds of tragedies are about and the service and sacrifice that people make, it’s still just, you know — I can’t even get angry. It’s just so inappropriate,” McCain said. “And I'm sure that the families of those brave Americans are not amused.”
 
Ayotte concurred.
 
“I have to say, the president’s statement today was quite astounding. And you know, the murder of four Americans, of course, is tragic and totally unacceptable. And that’s what we would expect to hear from our commander-in-chief,” she said.
 
During Obama’s appearance on the Daily Show, Stewart noted the administration’s response to the attack had seemed “confused” to the American people and he suggested that it had not been as “optimal” as it could have been.
 
“Here’s what I’ll say: If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal,” Obama responded, referring to the administration’s initial reaction.
 
“We’re going to fix it. All of it,” he continued. “The government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it. Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes first, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.”
 
But Ayotte insisted it was unacceptable that “in multiple changing stories” the administration “failed to come out and call this what it was from the beginning — a terrorist attack, of course, by an al-Qaida affiliate.”

“It’s disturbing, and I think there are serious questions the president has to answer about this,” she added.

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McCain, describing the claim that a “hateful video” triggered the Benghazi attack as “malarkey” and “baloney,” said it was time for the president to tell the American people what he knows about the attack and “when he knew it.”

“As far as Benghazi is concerned, it’s either two things: willfully deceiving the American people in hopes that it would drag out past the election, or a degree of incompetence that can only, responsibility for which can only come to the president’s desk,” he said.

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