Janet M. LaRue

“Q: I want to take Chuck's lead and just ask a very small follow- up, which is whether you feel you have a mandate, not just on taxes, but on a range of issues, because of your decisive victory. But I want to stay on Benghazi, based on what John (sp) asked, because you said, if they want to come after me, come after me. I wanted to ask about the families of these four Americans who were killed. Sean Smith's father, Ray, said he believes his so basically called 911 for help, and they didn't get it. And I know you've said you grieve for these four Americans, that it's being investigated. But the families have been waiting for more than two months.

So I would like to -- for you to address the families, if you can: On 9/11, as commander in chief, did you issue any orders to try to protect their lives?”

The last 17 words are the only relevant ones out of 155. What was the point of limiting the question to the families of the 9/11 victims and referring to Obama’s “mandate” and “decisive victory”? Henry opened the door for the opaque President to add another layer of fog to the elusive ongoing investigation:

“Ed, I’ll address the families not through the press. I’ll address the families directly, as I already have. And we will provide all the information that is available about what happened on that day. That’s what the investigation is for.

But as I’ve said repeatedly, if people don’t think that we did everything we can to make sure that we saved the lives of folks who I sent there and who were carrying out missions on behalf of the United States, then you don’t know how our Defense Department thinks or our State Department thinks or our CIA thinks. Their number-one priority is obviously to protect American lives. That’s what our job is. Now --

Ed, I will put forward every bit of information that we have. I can tell you that immediately upon finding out that our folks were in danger, that my orders to my national security team were do whatever we need to do to make sure they’re safe. And that’s the same order that I would give any time that I see Americans are in danger, whether they’re civilian or military, because that’s our number-one priority.”

If Henry had cut to the chase, he could have added follow up questions not dependent on a completed “investigation:

· What precisely was your order?

· To whom was it given?

· Since it wasn’t obeyed, why hasn’t anybody been fired?

· Can we have a copy of the order?

The winner of the “Potential Investigation and Judgment of Elusive Eloquence” award is Chuck Todd of NBC News, who asked:

“Are you withholding judgment on whether you should have known sooner that there was a potential — that there was an investigation into whether your CIA director — potentially there was a national security breach with your CIA director? Do you believe you should have known sooner, or are you withholding judgment until the investigation is complete on that front?”

The “I’ve Fallen for You and I Can’t Get Up” award goes to Christi Parsons of the Tribune Company who began her giggle session by congratulating Obama, who acknowledged that they “go back a ways” to his days in the state senate. She’s never seen him lose, except when she “wasn’t looking that one time.”

I wish I hadn’t been looking that one time.

The “Who Gives a Flying Fig” award goes to Mark Landler of The New York Times for pandering climate change claptrap while the nation is falling apart and the Middle East is blowing up.

The “Helping You Blame Bush” award goes to Jessica Yellin of CNN for linking a continuation of the “Bush tax cuts” to the “fiscal cliff.”

Edmund Burke, a British politician, is quoted in Thomas Carlyle's book, On Heroes, Hero Worship, and The Heroic in History, referring to the three Estates in Parliament. But of the press, Burke supposedly said, “Yonder sits the Fourth Estate, and they are more important than them all.”

I think he’d pick Wilford Brimley.

Janet M. LaRue

Jan LaRue is Senior Legal Analyst with the American Civil Rights Union; former Chief Counsel at Concerned for Women; Legal Studies Director at Family Research Council; and Senior Counsel for the National Law Center for Children and Families. Be the first to read Janet LaRue's column. Sign up today and receive Townhall.com delivered each morning to your inbox.