Friday Free-for-All: Obama’s Falling Through His Own Benghazi Trap

“Please proceed Governor.”

Before this subject gets stale – and the Benghazi debate debacle has not for some of us female bloggers, I offer you Maggie Thorton, of Maggie’s Notebook:

Something that caught my attention is the look on Mitt Romney’s face as this exchange (seen at the very beginning of the video) is going forward. It’s a strange moment and Mitt’s face and body language shows that 1) he is astounded and appalled at the untruth he’s hearing, and 2) he will get to the bottom of it, if not in this debate then in the next, or on another day. Just after this exchange is when “Candy and Eye Candy” loaded the trap (that dialog is below also), which along with time restrictions kept Romney from pursuing what so many of us knew to be true.

So glad I wasn’t the only one thinking that Romney was walking into a trap, there.

Neo-NeoCon analyzed Obama’s Rose Garden speech and determined that  Obama characterized the Benghazi violence ten separate times.

Each time, he might have chosen to have said “terrorist attacks” or “terrorists” or “terrorism,” but each time he chose not to do so. Instead, he used the words “attack” or “attackers” seven times, the word “act” twice, and the word “violence” once. He’s not shy about employing adjectives to modify those words, either: he calls them “senseless,” “brutal,” “terrible,”outrageous,” and “shocking.”

Note, however, that the word “terrorist” is never used as an adjective to modify Obama’s descriptions of what happened in Benghazi, nor is it used as a noun to describe the perpetrators. There is no question that the omission was intentional on Obama’s part, because if Obama had wanted to call it a terrorist attack it would have been natural to actually, like, you know, do so.

The only mention of terrorist acts by Obama comes, as I wrote yesterday, in his generic statement of resolve after mentioning both the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (9/11 being an unequivocal act of terrorism, and both wars being part of what used to be called the “War on Terror”).

Obama’s Rose Garden speech was carefully written to make sure the President sounded as though he may have been hinting at quite a few things that he’s not really saying, in order to keep all his options open later.

Speaking of options—watch the tape of the moment in the debate when Obama makes the claim. The words I’m talking about occur right at the beginning where Obama says [emphasis mine], “The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we were going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror, and I also said that we were going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”

You can watch the tape again at Neo-NeoCon:

To me it appears that Obama feels that he is putting down some extremely tempting bait for Romney, hoping his opponent will bite.
He has rehearsed this approach in preparation for a Libya/Benghazi question; he believes it to be his trump card, and he knows Crowley will cover for him—or, if she fails to do so, that the MSM will do it for her.

It’s also possible that Obama (or his surrogates) have worked this out ahead of time with Crowley. I don’t know; it’s certainly possible, because her waving those papers around when asked to look at the transcript of the speech (are they actually a transcript? Or something else?) is rather odd. Whichever it is, pre-arranged or no, Obama seems especially delighted at what Crowley says, asking her to repeat it and setting up a nice round of forbidden applause (led by Michelle–preplanned as well?) from the audience. Gotcha!

Note also Obama’s affect when Romney questions him as to whether he really means to assert that he called it an act of terror the day after the attack. The camera zooms in on Obama as the president says to Romney “Please proceed, Governor,” and then cuts away just after the fleeting ghost of a faint smile crosses Obama’s face (mostly in his eyes; it occurs at about 1:22). It is at that point that Obama summarily orders Crowley to “check the transcript” (no “please” for Obama), and she immediately answers that Obama did say it that way. Not only do we know that assertion is false, but she didn’t even seem to have time to check any transcript between Obama’s request and her answer.

I’ve had the very same suspicions, but never took the time to lay them all out, as Maggie Thorton and Neo-NeoCon so brilliantly have. The problem for Obama is – the American people aren’t as stupid, or as easily led as he seems to think. The ones who have been following the news, know what they heard for two weeks following the attack, and Obama’s parsing of words do nothing but provoke more suspicion.

Also, Candy Crowley absurdly biased intervention may have unintentionally benefited Mitt Romney:

Taken all together, CNN’s Candy Crowley, in her zeal to intrude on the presidential debate and save President Obama from himself, may just have provided the televised moment that finally sparks a revolt against the four years of fawning coverage of President Obama.


The idea that the liberal media is deliberately trying to fix the 2012 election for Obama is now rampant, spreading across America faster than the flu in February.

And sitting at that debate moderator’s desk in such a highly visible moment in American history, Candy Crowley’s action in putting her thumb on the scale with the lights and cameras on and running in front of millions — may finally have been something wildly unintended.

The tipping point for the liberal media.

A tipping point that makes Mitt Romney the 45th President of the United States.

His poll numbers have fallen since that debate.

The Americans who don’t follow the news – well, let’s not talk about them…

By the way, we already know that the State Department has already said that the explanation linking the violence to protests over the anti-Muslim video was not their conclusion  – a question for “others” to answer.

Some “others” weighed in, today: CIA found militant links a day after Libya attack:

WASHINGTON (AP) — The CIA station chief in Libya reported to Washington within 24 hours of last month’s deadly attack on the U.S. Consulate that there was evidence it was carried out by militants, not a spontaneous mob upset about an American-made video ridiculing Islam’s Prophet Muhammad, U.S. officials have told The Associated Press.

It is unclear who, if anyone, saw the cable outside the CIA at that point and how high up in the agency the information went. The Obama administration maintained publicly for a week (two weeks – ed) that the attack on the diplomatic mission in Benghazi that killed U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans was a result of the mobs that staged less-deadly protests across the Muslim world around the 11th anniversary of the 9/11 terror attacks on the U.S.

Gosh….so it wasn’t the State Sept, or the “intelligence community” pushing the anti-Muslim video story – who does that leave? Oh –  the White House, just as we suspected all along.

The story was hatched in order to preserve the Obama campaign narrative that President “Gutsy” defeated al Qaeda. It’s hard to maintain a narrative like that in the face of an al Qaeda linked terrorist attack on an American Consulate that killed four of our citizens. As Charles Krauthamer so dryly noted on Special Report the other day, Obama had no reason to think the MSM wouldn’t carry his water on this.

“It contradicted their story: bin Laden dead, GM alive, and all that spiking of the football in Charlotte,” he said. “But there was another factor here. How could they have thought they would get away with it? They already knew by Sunday, in other words when Susan Rice went on the air, they knew right away it was a terror attack and they had real-time following of the events in Benghazi, real-time access to what was happening on the night it happened at the State Department in Washington. So they knew there was no riot, there wasn’t a mob, there wasn’t a demonstration.”

“Why did they think they could get away with that?” Krauthammer asked again, this time setting his sights on the media.

“They thought that the media would not work on it. And look at the way [the media] handled it. They went after Romney’s statement on Cairo for three days — ambassador killed for the first time in 30 years and that was the whole media analysis for three days.”

Krauthammer went on to say that the Obama administration thought the they could “ride this out” until after the election.

Meanwhile on the question of blame, yes, Obama made a half-hearted admission of culpability during the debate. Edward Klein at the Daily Caller noted:

After all, said the president, the secretary of state “works for me,” and as the top person in the administration’s chain of command, the buck stopped at him.

What’s more, in making his acknowledgement of fault, he couched his admission in such a way that the weight of blame still fell squarely on the shoulders of Hillary Clinton, not him.Thus, several questions were left unanswered by the debate:

  • Are Hillary and the president working in tandem?
  • Did Hillary take a bullet for Obama as a way of helping his campaign for re-election?
  • Or did Hillary have or the another motive, which has yet to be revealed to the public?

According to a member of Hillary’s inner circle to whom I have spoken, she and Bill Clinton assembled a team of legal experts a couple of weeks ago to determine how to handle the Benghazi debacle. The members of this team engaged in a lively debate over the best legal and political courses for her to take.

Their chief goal was to avoid allowing Benghazi to become a permanent stain on Hillary’s reputation and hurt her chances to run for president in 2016.

As they debated amongst themselves, it became clear to the Clintons and their advisers that the White House intended to throw Hillary under the bus. This conclusion became inescapable when David Axelrod went on Fox News Channel and cast all the blame for Benghazi on the State Department.


After the Clinton legal team had a chance to review the State Department cable traffic between Benghazi and Washington, the experts came to the conclusion that the cables proved that Hillary had in fact given specific instructions to beef up security in Libya, and that if those orders had been carried out — which they weren’t — they could conceivably have avoided the tragedy.

Clearly, someone in the Obama administration dropped the ball — and the president was still insisting that it was not his fault.

In the end, then, Hillary decided to assume responsibility to show that she was acting more presidential than the president.

I am told by my sources that she firmly believes that when the State Department cable traffic is made public, either through leaks to the press or during formal House committee hearings, it will exonerate her and shift the blame for the entire mess onto the president.

Of course, those cables won’t be made public until after the election.
Instapundit: NOT OPTIMAL.
David Catron, The American Spectator: What If Crowley and Her Accomplices Succeed?
Jack Cashill, The American Thinker: How Much of a Set-Up Was Crowley’s Libya Question?

“Who denied enhanced security and why?”The question went to President Barack Obama, and he launched into a well-rehearsed set piece about how he was handling the issue.  Mitt Romney responded much as one would expect him to respond, criticizing the White House response to the attack, especially Obama’s Las Vegas trip a day afterwards, and Obama’s Mideast policy in general.It was at this point that the debate, certainly from appearances, took a turn for the prearranged.  It was now 70 minutes on.  Crowley conceded a shortage of time and an excess of audience questions.  Nevertheless, instead of moving on to that next question, Crowley asked a question of her own.  Even before she began to ask, however, Obama was strolling confidently towards Crowley as though he knew what was going to happen next.The question involved Secretary of State Clinton’s taking responsibility for embassy security.  Asked Crowley, “Does the buck stop with the secretary of state?”  Obama was more than ready for this one.  “Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job, but she works for me,” said he forcefully.  “I’m the president, and I’m always responsible.”

From there Obama launched into a pitch-perfect, if thoroughly dishonest, defense of his own role in the affair…


Sensing an opening, Romney moved in for the kill over Crowley’s protestations that he respond “quickly.”  Romney looked straight at Obama, raised his eyebrows quizzically, and 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 are saying.”

Now back on his stool, Obama answered uncomfortably, “Please proceed.  Please proceed, governor.”  Romney turned back to Crowley and said that he just wanted to get Obama’s response on record.  With the camera still on Romney, the TV audience heard Obama say off-camera, “Get the transcript.”

The camera then moved to a wide-shot and showed Crowley waving a piece of paper.  Several of my correspondents — and, I am sure, many others — believed that to be the transcript and wondered how Crowley just happened to have it.

“He did in fact, sir, call…” said Crowley hesitantly to Romney, “so let me call it an act of terror.”

“Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” said a suddenly revived Obama while the Obama fans in the audience, Michelle included, cheered in violation of the rules.

“He did call it an act of terror,” said Crowley, consummating the most egregious act of real-time media malpractice in recent memory.  She then stumbled through a temporizing bit of nonsense about the two weeks it took for the “whole idea” to be revealed.

Frank Gaffney, President of the Center for Secutity Policy, told MRCTV’s Joe Schoffstall that the Obama Administration is not just ‘covering up’ the Benghazi attacks that Hillary Clinton took responsibility for, but also embracing the Muslim Brotherhood.

Gaffney goes on to say he believes President Obama will retaliate by attacking Libya before the elections.

QUESTION: On Libya, there are now reports that the CIA station chief in Libya sent a cable 24 hours after the attack in Benghazi saying that it wasn’t carried out – that it was carried out by militants. Did that cable ever cross over and reach the State Department, do you know?

MS. NULAND: Well, I think you know, Catherine, that we never talk about intelligence issues from this podium at all. So I’m not in a position to comment on that here today.

Linked by Smitty at The Other McCain, thanks!

6 thoughts on “Friday Free-for-All: Obama’s Falling Through His Own Benghazi Trap

  1. Pingback: -(Updated with debate video exchange and more) « Notion Tidbits

  2. Pingback: Is The Post-Debate Benghazi Discussion Playing Into Obama’s Hands? : The Other McCain

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