In the campaign’s closing days, Republicans are pulling out all the stops in going after President Obama—including once again slamming his administration’s response to the September attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
After Mitt Romney botched an attack on the issue in a mid-October debate, his campaign has largely steered clear of it. But Romney supporters and surrogates kept Benghazi alive in recent weeks, and in the past few days have made it a core part of their closing argument.
On CNN Friday, Rudy Giuliani kicked off the renewed assault, charging that Obama “fell asleep at the switch—for months, not just that day.”
Sunday morning, Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace picked up on the issue, asking Obama adviser David Axelrod whether Obama should have campaigned in Nevada a day after the attack, a criticism that has emerged lately among opponents of the president.
Perhaps the most outspoken critic on the issue has been Sen. John McCain. On Fox News Wednesday, the Arizona senator accused Obama of a coverup “as bad as Watergate.”
“I said, this could be as bad as Watergate and one of our veterans said yeah, but nobody died in Watergate. Four brave Americans. Three of them veterans,” McCain said on Fox & Friends. He went on to say that Obama is “not qualified to be Commander-in-Chief.”
Fox News head honcho Rupert Murdoch has also clumsily waded into the fray, tying himself in knots in the process. He tweeted Saturday:
Benghazi scandal. Look who has taken fall for O. America’s finest non-political public servant: CIA chief David Petraeus.
Murdoch’s next tweet read:
Ignore last tweet. Sorry. Petraeus has NOT taken fall for O.
Obama’s campaign has hit back at the attacks. Axelrod told Wallace that before the Nevada campaign event, “everything was put in motion that he could put in motion. Every conversation that needed to be had was being had between him and his top national security officials.”
And Rahm Emanuel, a former Obama White House chief of staff and now the mayor of Chicago, responded to Giuliani on CNN Sunday morning: ”The president’s done exactly what a president should do.”
In the second presidential debate in mid-October, Mitt Romney attempted to seize on the issue, falsely declaring that it had taken Obama 14 days to call the attacks an act of terror. But he was immediately fact-checked by moderator Candy Crowley, who noted that Obama did in fact refer to the attacks as an act of terror in a Rose Garden event the day after they occurred.