Fred J. Eckert

It was seven months after President Nixon’s re-election that Senator Baker asked that great question of his. It is now nearly eight months after President Obama’s re-election -- well past time for the American people to learn the answer to an equally important, Howard Baker-inspired, question about Benghazi:

Where exactly was the President of the United States throughout the roughly eight hours of the Benghazi attack -- and what exactly did he do, if anything, to try to help the Americans serving our country in that dangerous spot while they were being killed and injured by terrorists?”

We know that around 5PM Washington time on the evening of the Benghazi attack, President Obama was in the White House attending a previously scheduled meeting with his Secretary of Defense and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff when they first discussed the attack.

We know that about five hours later, he discussed the matter with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, shortly after which she released a statement strongly suggesting cause-and-effect between “inflammatory material posted on the Internet” and the attack.

We know that at no other time during that terrible night did the President discuss it with the Secretary of Defense, the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Secretary of State, or the Director of the CIA.

If it’s public knowledge that he spoke with Secretary Clinton and at what time he did so and that he did not talk with her or these other three major players again that night after his earlier around 5PM discussion with two of them, why in the world does the Obama Administration insist on making such a big secret of where he was and what he was up to during the long duration of the attack?

Such secrecy invites all sorts of suspicion and speculation. It makes Obama look like a captain jumping ship.

Recently, top White House advisor and Obama campaign strategist David Plouffe said it was “irrelevant” to ask where the President was and what he was doing the night of the attack and that it was “offensive” for journalist Chris Wallace to even ask.

Does President Obama share this attitude?

If he does, he needs to explain why.

If he doesn’t, he needs to end the mystery.

The whereabouts of the President of the United States throughout an attack upon us is not something that should be kept secret from the American people.

It makes no sense that, rather erase the worst possible suspicions by answering such a simple and sensible question, the Obama Administration is willing to let linger the appearance that when America came under attack, the President went AWOL.

But, then, so little of anything that the Obama Administration has said or done regarding Benghazi makes sense.

Fred J. Eckert

Fred J. Eckert is a former Republican congressman from New York and twice served as a US Ambassador under President Ronald Reagan, who called him “a good friend and valued advisor.”