Since our beloved media has chosen to go wall-to-wall with their absurd "gaffy-horserace-optics" meta narrative, might they also get the vapors over what our sitting Commander-in-Chief is up to tonight? Do me a favor and go read (or re-read) these posts. How many urgent, distressing, open questions still remain in this ongoing crisis, as the American death toll climbs to six? With all that in mind, ta-da:
President Barack Obama’s Wednesday afternoon speech in Las Vegas is being delayed by about 45 minutes, according to the White House. Obama had been scheduled to speak at 5:25 p.m. at a campaign rally at the Cashman Center in downtown Las Vegas. He will now deliver his speech at 6:10 p.m., according to an updated schedule released Wednesday morning. The president was forced to alter his schedule to comment on a Tuesday attack on the American Embassy in Libya that killed four people, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens, the White House Press Office said. No other event details have changed, and doors will still open to the public at 3 p.m., according to an Obama campaign official. Wednesday’s visit will be Obama’s eighth trip to Nevada this year.
A 45 minute speech delay. That's it. Carry on, Mr. President -- we all know campaigning is really, really important. (Also, this happened). Incidentally, is anyone slightly more interested in this story now? On Monday, the Associated Press reported that Obama was briefed on US preparedness abroad for potential 9/11 fallout:
The White House said Monday the president and his advisers discussed specific measures the administration was taking to prevent 9/11-related attacks. They also discussed steps that were being taken to protect Americans abroad and U.S. forces serving in combat zones.
So, how did that turn out? I'm not trying to score cheap points here -- I'm certain the president is mortified by what happened -- but I am holding a mirror up to the press. If they're experiencing fainting spells over Mitt Romney's response to the first round of last night's dreadful news, they might show some interest in the behavior, decisions, and policies of the person currently presiding over the United States government. Just a thought. Speaking of Romney's "mistake," Foreign Policy's The Cable reports that the State Department rejected the Cairo embassy statement prior to publication, but it went up anyway:
"The statement was not cleared with anyone in Washington. It was sent as ‘This is what we are putting out,'" the official said. "We replied and said this was not a good statement and that it needed major revisions. The next email we received from Embassy Cairo was ‘We just put this out.'" A heated discussion ensued among State Department and White House officials over e-mail as the controversy over the statement grew Tuesday evening, even grabbing the attention of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, those same officials were dealing with a more serious attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that resulted in the death of four American officials, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. "People at the highest levels both at the State Department and at the White House were not happy with the way the statement went down. There was a lot of anger both about the process and the content," the official said.
"Frankly, people here did not understand it. The statement was just tone deaf. It didn't provide adequate balance. We thought the references were inappropriate, and we strongly advised against the kind of language that talked about ‘continuing efforts by misguided individuals to hurt the religious feelings of Muslims.'" Despite being aware of Washington's objections, the embassy continued to defend the statement for several hours, fueling the controversy over it, a decision the official again attributed to Schwartz. "Not only did they push out the statement but they continued to engage on Twitter and retweet it," the official said. "[Schwartz] would have been the one directing folks to engage on Twitter on this." At approximately 10:30 p.m. Washington time, Clinton issued a statement on both the Libya and Egypt attacks that included a reference to religious tolerance as well as an emphasis on the administration's condemnation of the embassy attack.
So according to the Washington Post's timeline of events, it took the Obama administration roughly 16 hours to clean up the mess created by (apparently) a rogue operator within the Cairo embassy, even as that person or persons Tweeted several re-affirmations of the rejected missive. Meanwhile, there was "a lot of anger" at the White House over the "process and content" of the statement -- which Mitt Romney shared and articulated forcefully. This, apparently, was an "outrage" of some sort, prompting the Obama campaign to condemn Romney before the president had personally assailed the Cairo attack. But who's politicizing this, again? Mitt Romney saw an unacceptable statement from an official administration source in Egypt and called it out -- after expressing outrage over the multiple attacks on our diplomatic missions. The White House agreed that the statement was unacceptable, but couldn't control its actors. That's a problem, alright, but it ain't Romney's. I'll leave you with a clip of a Romney foreign policy advisor totally dismantling an Obama surrogate on CNN this evening:
UPDATE - Must read: Phil Klein's take-down of the media's partisan and corrupt behavior today.
UPDATE III - So, the president just compared his campaign volunteers to the US diplomats murdered in Libya. Really:
President Obama told his campaign volunteers in Nevada that he is “really proud” of them after comparing them to the U.S. ambassador and embassy staff murdered in Libya. “And obviously are hearts are broken for the families but I wanted to encourage those folks at the State Dept. that they were making a difference,” Obama told volunteer leaders in Las Vegas, according to the pool report. “The sacrifices that our troops and our diplomats make are obviously very different from the challenges that we face here domestically but like them, you guys are Americans who sense that we can do better than we’re doing….I’m just really proud of you.”
Obama, during his talk with the volunteers, described his visit to the State Department today. “I had a chance to go to the State Dept. to comfort some of the friends and co-workers of the the folks who had fallen and I reminded them that as hard as things are sometimes, as difficult as change is that if we’re resolute, if we don’t give up, if we don’t give in, if we don’t become cynical, if we continue to be realistic about how hard change is but also keep in our hearts that sense of idealism and sense of purpose then over time good things happen,” he said.
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