On Monday, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton claimed responsibility for the September attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including United States ambassador Christopher Stevens.
During a CNN interview, Clinton said “I take responsibility,” for the attacks that took place on September 11.
“I’m in charge of the State Department’s 60,000-plus people all over the world, 275 posts,” she said. “The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals. They’re the ones who weigh all of the threats and the risks and the needs and make a considered decision.”
Secretary Clinton also said she wanted to avoid a “political gotcha or blame game.”
This morning, RNC Chairman Reince Priebus discussed the attack with the Morning Joe panel. The Republican Party has been critical of the president and his administration over their handling of the attack. Priebus criticized both the president and Secretary Clinton in calling it a “3 a.m. call,” which is a reference to a 2008 campaign ad Clinton released against the president criticizing his ability to make tough foreign policy decisions in a moment’s time.
“The buck stops at the White House. That’s what Hillary Clinton said back in 2008,” Priebus stated. “She’s saying something differently today. But I think it’s a matter of leadership; I think it’s a matter of straight answers. Terrible things can happen and that’s not necessarily obviously a reason to say that someone isn’t fit to lead, but I think it’s a matter of how do you act once something terrible happens and how honest are you with the American people? I just get a feeling that the president hasn’t been straight with the American people. Certainly the White House hasn’t been straight with the American people, or they’ve been so sloppy in getting the right answers and communicating the correct answers to the American people that it brings the question to the table.”
New York Magazine’s John Heilemann wondered if there was anything the president could say on the issue at tonight’s Hofstra University debate the GOP would deem acceptable.
“He’s had, what, a month to come up with this reasonable, decent answer that’s going to vindicate him, and he hasn’t been able to come up with it and he’s sliding in the polls? I think if he had a reasonable, decent, good answer for what’s been going on in Libya, I have a feeling he would’ve come forward with it,” Priebus said.
Obama campaign senior adviser Robert Gibbs also joined the panel this morning, and discussed the Benghazi attack as well.
“It’s hard to do the politics of Libya..this shouldn’t be something that, as Amb. Stevens’ dad said, becomes a big political issue. We ought to figure out what happened, how this came about and make sure that anybody that we send out to do the diplomatic business of this country is protected. I think what Secy. Clinton said last night was that the State Department is the one that receives and looks through security requests for missions and our consulates around the world. She also said we have to remain diplomatically engaged and keep our people safe and we ought not play politics with this. And, I think, if you look at what Mitt Romney has done since the moment this thing happened is play politics with it.”