Libya in Focus

With the final debate looming Monday, the focus on foreign policy amplifies the importance of the Embassy attacks and specifically the terrorist strike in Benghazi killing 4 Americans including the US Ambassador.

Republicans are out in force making certain the facts of this security disaster and political cover-up get to the public since the media only reluctantly cover this story one-month after it occurred:

Republicans are hitting President Obama from all sides over his handling of the attack in Libya as he prepares to go head-to-head with Mitt Romney in Monday night’s foreign policy debate.

  • House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) took direct aim at the president in a sharply worded letter Friday demanding to know why the administration drew down the U.S. security presence in Libya amid a surge in violence. “Americans … deserve a complete explanation about your administration’s decision to accelerate a normalized presence in Libya at what now appears to be at the cost of endangering lives,” Issa wrote. “These critical foreign policy decisions are not made by low or mid-level career officials — they are typically made through a structured and well-reasoned process that includes the National Security Council at the White House.
  • Senate hawks John McCain (R-Ariz.), Kelly Ayotte (R-N.H.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have flooded the TV airwaves to slam the administration’s shifting account of the attack that killed four Americans at the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
  • Romney’s foreign policy surrogate, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), is expected to carry the criticism forward during his three scheduled appearances on Sunday news shows.
  • [O]n Friday, the Senate Intelligence Committee’s seven Republicans — including Rubio — demanded to know who leaked information about possible retaliation for the Libya assault. “It seems counterintuitive to broadcast our intent to take action,” they wrote to Obama, “as that would certainly give those responsible for this terrorist attack a chance to take evasive measures.”

The issues

Romney and his allies have blasted the Obama administration for initially blaming the Libya attack on a video about Islam, saying it was obvious from the get-go that terrorists had targeted the U.S. on the anniversary of 9/11. They have also seized on the testimony of State Department officials who said requests for added security in Libya had been denied by the Obama administration in the run-up to the attacks.


Polls suggest the Libya assault has hurt the president with voters. A Pew poll released Thursday found that Obama’s lead on foreign policy has shrunk over the past month from a 15-point advantage over Romney to a lead of just four points. A separate Pew poll taken last week, also released Thursday, found that a large chunk of independent voters disapprove of Obama’s handling of the Libya situation, possibly helping Romney with a bloc of voters that could decide the election. Independents expressed disapproval of the president’s handling of the attack by a margin of 40 percent to 28 percent.


  1. Stephen
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink | Reply

    New Gravis poll showing tie in Ohio with D+9

  2. Posted October 20, 2012 at 10:34 am | Permalink | Reply

    Note that Obama’s surrogates are trying to revise history about his early identification of the attack as “an act of terror”. If so, why did he push the “spontaneous mob/video” trope for the first two weeks on talk shows and in his U.N. speech while apologizing to the Muslim world? Why say in his U.N. speech that “the future does not belong to those who slander the prophet” if terrorists killed our fellow Americans? It’s nonsensical.

  3. bman77
    Posted October 20, 2012 at 11:18 am | Permalink | Reply

    D+9 and still!! They better start jacking these polls up to D+15.

  4. Posted October 20, 2012 at 1:52 pm | Permalink | Reply

    What has happened since September 1 has been so interesting this election. I guess this why you should not panic before the debate season. Hard to believe that less than 6 weeks ago presidential debate #3 on foreign policy was considered an Obama strength and a Romney weakness. Doesn’t that seem like forever ago now (Candy Crowley excluded of course)? And within the same time period, Obama and Biden also saw their likeability lead diminish. And even more shocking on that end was that the likeability turnaround has not been due to the more charismatic Ryan, but rather just to Romney being himself and perhaps Joe Biden doing the same.

  5. Midwestlady
    Posted October 21, 2012 at 11:40 pm | Permalink | Reply


    You’re right. It’s non-sensical. Either:

    1) President Obama meant to call it a terrorist action on September 12th, but nevertheless went out with surrogates and distinctly denied it for 2 weeks on TV and even at the UN, blaming it on a bogus and frankly ridiculous scenario each time. Blatant lying in public. Reason unknown. Or,
    2) President Obama didn’t realize that a military action on September 11th (of all dates!), which his own State Department clearly was calling a terrorist attack, was indeed a terrorist attack. Which means he either doesn’t talk to his own State Department or he doesn’t get it or he doesn’t care. There isn’t a good option in that list. One wonders how much of our foreign policy has been managed by the Clintons while Obama has been out playing golf. WTH is going on?

    Those are the two possibilities. Neither one of them good. And Obama has trapped himself of his own doing by the statements he’s made.

    The subject will certainly come up tomorrow night. I don’t think that this debate will change what’s already happened much unless Obama somehow becomes even more incoherent on this subject, which is a possibility. That could hurt. That said, most people aren’t as interested in the foreign policy pieces as they are the domestic economy pieces. Yet this is a glaring inconsistency, so it’ll be interesting to see how many people watch.

  6. Posted October 22, 2012 at 5:50 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Keep in mind tonight on this debate….Romney has been recieving National Security briefings on a daily basis for the last couple of weeks. So he essentially knows just about everything the President knows.

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