What Romney Should Have Said on Libya

Rather than push the point of whether or not Obama called the events in Libya an act of terror in the Rose Garden (ultimately a trivial point), why not give the President the benefit of the doubt on that detail and then proceed to crucify him, like this?


ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.


OBAMA: That’s what I said.


ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.


It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?


OBAMA: Please proceed governor.


ROMNEY: So you are saying that you knew the day after Ambassador Stevens and 3 other brave Americas were killed that it was a terrorist attack, and yet you proceeded to jet off to Nevada for a fundraising party and did another event in Colorado the next day while their murderers were still at large?  President Carter was one of the weakest presidents on foreign policy America has ever had, but even he had the decency to stay in the White House during the hostage crisis.  How can American president go fundraising after a terrorist attack against America of this magnitude?  It is simply unconscionable. And if you truly knew it was a terrorist attack at that point, why did you continue to blame the attack on a videotape?  How could you know the truth of the situation for over a week and continue to tell the American people that the video, not a terrorist attack, was to blame.  We’ll have to go back to the transcript, but frankly, it would look much better for you if you didn’t know the events in Libya a terrorist attack so quickly.  Americans can understand that their president might not have all the facts within a day of such a tragic event, but they absolutely will not tolerate being lied to and told the attacks were protests against a videotape when in fact you say that your administration knew all along that 4 innocent Americas were murdered by terrorists.


I guess the good news is that we will get to here lots more about Libya throughout the weak and in next Monday’s foreign policy debate.  And I don’t see any possible way that Obama can make up a story that connects the dots and is remotely credible….. they botched it and have contradicted themselves into a corner.  Romney just has to lay out the facts.


  1. BrkfldDad says:

    Maybe in the President’s mind he was showing real concern by having not gone golfing. Let’s just hope the families of those murdered in Benghazi didn’t get an auto-penned form letter too.

  2. Governor Romney blew that response, and President Obama successfully obfuscated with his response.

    The right answer would have been something along the lines that it was Hillary Clinton that took the 3:00 AM call, while President went fundraising in Las Vegas. After all, the “buck stops” with her.

    Do you hear that, RNC peeps?

  3. One more observation about this…. In the Rose Garden, Obama did refer to the attack (along with 9-11) as an act of terror. The issue is, “an act of terror” is not the same as a “terrorist attack”. Almost any murder could be described as an “act of terror”, but most murders are not “terrorist attacks”.

    Look again at the transcript of the debate. Where Romney asked if Obama said it was an act or terror, Obama said yes, which is technically true. When Romney asked:

    “You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?”

    Obama said “Please proceed governor”.

    The reason Obama gave such an odd response is that the answer to the first part of the question was yes… Obama did refer to it as an act of terror, but the response to the second part of the question was no… the administration did not know whether or not it was a “terrorist attack” or a “spontaneous demonstration” or something else. But Obama obviously did not want to say “I did call it an ‘act of terror’ but I did not know if it was a spontaneous attack or not.”

    This could get Obama into a lot of trouble. He is now trying to present the situation as if they knew it was a terrorist attack all along, but they clearly didn’t and there are many ways (see my original post) that their behavior was inconsistent with believing that America had just suffered a terrorist attack. Obama knows this, but he is hoping he is not pressed and can skate by saying that “I called it an act of terror”, which is technically true, but misleading.

    Obama meant that statement to mean what occurred was an “act of terror” in the sense that Columbine or Aurora or Virginia Tech were acts of terror. He did not know America had just suffered an organized terrorist attack from Al Qaeda and now he wants to trick us into thinking he did.

    I don’t think his deception is going to work.

  4. I hope ‘they ‘( those peeps) are taking notes, Mr. Bean and Ryan.


    Just for a little history. On 9/11 what was in place to defend the Pentagon from an attack ? Why were the Saidi’s allowed to fly home ? Why did we invade Iraq if they were not the terrorists that invaded our country? Why did many in the Bush administration play the blame game and then admit there was no threat of weapons of mass destruction that could harm us ? And…..why did we not have a defense at Pearl Harbor when Japan was on brink of war ? While in the military service during Korea, the battlegrounds were called a “war”, a “conflict”, a “mission”, a “a humanitarian” effort, a treaty obligation and a show of power to stop the communist intervention. Yet, there was a military draft and loss of unecessary American lives. In Arab countries there are countless tribes, terror groups, pro and anti-pro regime, unconvicted criminals, people living in poverty, educated and uneducated people who do not trust the USA and militants who are paid to intervene and disrupt the peace. We also have classified and secret missions and informants who do their best to protect our interests. Do we really have to know everything our country is doing to keep us out of war in our homeland ? or do you want a play by play description and analysis of the activities of the CIA and FBI ?

  6. Randy in Richmond says:

    We are in the same church but in different pews. I follow your analysis but I differ with you on a key point. If I understand your reasoning, Obama really did not know on the 12th that Benghazi was a terrorist attack-yet he called it that in his rose garden speech.

    I take a differing approach. I believe the House hearings and other evidence show the Administration did know almost immediately it was a terror attack. And the following 10 days of blaming the tape and denying it was a terror attack was a smokescreen. The reason for the smokescreen was to delay and hope the issue would go away or at least could be put off until after the election. Obama has hung his foreign policy hat on the killing of bin Laden and that al-Qaeda is no more–or greatly reduced as a result of bin Laden’s murder. Remember he said “al-Qaeda is back on it’s heels” after 9/11/12. This Benghazi affair has gotten in the way of that narrative.

    And thus the reason for the big lie by his whole administration for 10 days. But they couldn’t hold the lie together–there’s too many facts to prove otherwise. So now the line is that the intelligence was wrong and the Department of State (Hillary) screwed up. That’s why Biden said “we knew nothing” at his debate–which was quickly turned around so that “we’ meant only he and the President. See, you have to keep splitting those hairs as the lie unravels.

    Your astute analysis of Obama’s, “please proceed Governor,” is indeed telling and fits my narrative also. Whether he answered yes or no to Romney’s question would have wrong for Obama, because neither fits the lie narrative.

    As with you, I believe the more this is discussed the worse it gets for Obama.

    For anyone wanting to read an excellant explanation with background on this issue, the following article by Stephen Hayes (a conservative writer) points out all the minute facts and details.


  7. Randy:

    Thanks for the thoughtful post. I’ll read the Hayes link when I get a chance.

    Bottom line: I don’t know what Obama knew when. I do know that Obama now says he knew when he gave the Rose Garden speech. Romney should accept that premise from Obama and call Obama out for both his apathy (jetting off to Vegas) and his inconsistency (why continue to push the clearly false videotape explaination for several more days?)

  8. Randy in Richmond says:

    I agree Ryan.

    Have you checked today’s Gallup: 51/46 Romney up.

    The magic majority–not just a plurality.

  9. You know what? I’m ok with what the NYT did here:


    Obama couched his words in the rose garden. He did not label THIS an act of terror at the time. And he was speaking of 9/11/2001. From the transcript:

    “Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourn with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

    As Americans let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those, both civilian and military, who represent us around the globe.

    No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”

    I may have missed it but it looks like he did not specifically blame the video in the rose garden speech.


    I think that NY Times piece does a pretty good job with how the administration muddled it all up. In my (very) humble opinion, the GOP has a case, especially in light of Obama’s fundraising, et. al. that day, but it might not be a sword to fall on.

    The issue is allowed to last until next Monday’s foreign policy debate where Romney better bring it, dang it, but after that we wrap up this campaign with the economy.

  10. Randy in Richmond says:

    Earlier in his speech Obama says:

    We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others.

    A not so vague reference to the tape.

  11. My read on the president’s Rose Garden transcript is that he talked about what just happened in Libya, then talked about 9-11, then combined the two and referred to them as “these acts of terror”, “Acts”, plural, referring to both.

    But as I said above, including Libya as falling under the umbrella of an act of terror is not the same as calling it a terrorist attack. If he really mean to call it a terrorist attack, he would have used that phrase earlier in the speech when he referred to it as “senseless violence”.

  12. DICK STEINBERG says:

    As I have said many times Gov. Romney will be the next President. The next 4 years will be about survival which trumps the economy. Above all we want to be safe from enemy invasion. Our only choice is the conversion of our factories to produce materials to defend against aggression. This means that the temptation for corruption in awarding defense contracts will be very high. We can only pray that Gov. Romney as Commander in Chief is prepared to face the task of protecting us from another attack on our homeland which will be much more severe than 9/11.

  13. Randy:

    I appreciate your analysis regarding this foreign policy issue.

    Where was this passion for the truth 10 years ago?

    And I’m not trying to be sarcastic on both statement and question.

  14. Randy in Richmond says:


    I did know 10 years ago that Sadam had used WMD’s on his own people because there was a video showing him doing so. I do know that the British MI6, the French DRM, the Mossad, and the CIA all believed there was yellowcake in Iraq in large quantities, which was ultimately proven true.

    I do know that ours’, the United States’ flag, was the only one left flying in Benghazi after the British left a few months prior-because it’s Ambassador was attacked with RPG’s. Here is an excerpt from a Rueter’s article describing the attack:

    “Police at the scene said they have found leaflets from a group that calls itself the Brigades of Sheikh Omar Abdel-Rahman,”
    Abdel-Rahman is the Egyptian “blind sheik” who is currently serving a life sentence in the US.”

    No, I’m not a security expert but ‘red flag’?

    The British and the Red Cross pulled out just after this incident.

    I do know that many prominent Democrats made public statements concerning Sadam’s WMD’s and supported ridding him of them. I have yet to hear one prominent Republican support the notion that the infamous YouTube video perpetrated the killing of the 4 Americans in Benghazi. I do know that President Obama has proclamed multiple times, even after 9/11/12, that “al-Qaeda is back on it’s heels” or “on the run” (this is Obama’s Mission Accomplished statement–that incidently was deleted from yesterday’s speech in Iowa).

    I do know that Sadam snubbed his nose at years of UN actions to curtail his developement of WMD’s–so the international community believed he had them. That Sadam siphoned tens of billions of dollars and dual-use items from the Oil-for-Food program and allowed his own people to suffer hunger and otherwise.

    So, 10 years ago, with the same passion that Joe Biden used then when he explained that attacking Iraq was not preemptive, but enforcement, I supported our President then with the same fervor I oppose our President now.

    And I do know, as chronicled on this site some time ago before it became the norm, the current President will lie to the American people.

  15. J. Strupp says:

    The issue has always been about the administration’s use of bogus intelligence to persuade Congress, the American people and the world to go to war with a nation that had nothing to do with 9/11. The history books will not be kind to the Bush Administration and neoconservativism in general. And for good reason.

    But I think you and I have gone down this road a few hundred times, Randy.

  16. Randy in Richmond says:

    Yes, my tires are worn.

  17. Krauthammer nails it. Read this column if you want to know what is coming in debate #3.


  18. DICK STEINBERG says:

    Cindy. same people blogging. same people saying the same things. same partisan responses. somehow I thought you had a more diverse base of opinions. WHO SPEAKS FOR THE MODERATES ?

  19. Loved that link, Ryan.

  20. Obviously Dick, you speak for the illiterates. About 1/8″ from the “a” key is the caps lock. Turn it off, please.

  21. DICK STEINBERG says:

    Robert. this is not a difficult question that I asked of Cindy. So, who speaks for the Moderates?