Even so, White House press secretary Jay Carney said the protests were directed at the video rather than the United States -- wishful thinking. The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the FBI was sent to Los Angeles to track down the video maker. The Los Angeles Times reported that the State Department asked YouTube whether the offending video violated its terms of service.
As Fox News commentator Kirsten Powers wrote, "Our leaders shouldn't let our enemies know that when they kill our people and attack our embassies that the U.S. government will act like a battered wife making excuses for her psychotic husband."
It's also disturbing that Obama, after his brief statement deploring the Benghazi murders (and not mentioning the attack on the Cairo embassy), immediately embarked on a four-hour plane ride to campaign in Las Vegas.
In an interview there with Telemundo, Obama said Egypt was neither an ally nor an enemy. Later, the State Department spokesman conceded that Egypt is officially an ally under a 1989 law.
That's an unforced error for an incumbent president, one who has criticized his opponent's lack of foreign policy experience.
But perhaps it's not surprising. American Enterprise Institute's Marc Thiessen revealed last week that Obama has skipped more than half of his daily intelligence briefings. He reads the reports instead. His last in-person briefing before 9/11/12 was on Sept. 5.
It's not clear why security efforts failed in Benghazi and the Libyan government's assurances that it will protect our diplomats in the future seems sincere.
And Obama did find time for a reportedly "tense" phone conversation with Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi, who then made a public statement denouncing the attacks. But on the phone, Morsi reportedly asked Obama to "put an end to such behavior" -- i.e., suppress the video. Did the president explain that we have a First Amendment that prevents government from doing such things?
Under settled principles of international law, attacks on diplomats by, or permitted by, governments can be considered acts of war. The threat of such attacks deserves a more stern response than a campaign trip to Vegas, a misstatement of settled policy and skipped intelligence briefings.