How big of a mistake was Stephanie Cutter's accidental revelation of the truth yesterday on CNN? Mediaite is openly wondering whether she was trying to hand Mitt Romney the foreign policy debate on a platter. That's not how she saw it, though, doubling down on Fox and fleeing Katie's questions before last night's debate. Cutter's Special Report appearance is especially revealing because it indicates that Team Obama has given her the green light to maintain her repulsive "blame Romney" posture. The impulse to blame and attack runs deep in Chicago, and it's beyond tiresome at this point:
"Next time I'll bring my notes."
With the ball placed carefully on the tee, let's send it over to you, Mitt Romney:
“I think today we got another indication of how President Obama and his campaign fail to grasp the seriousness of the challenges that we face here in America. His campaign said this today about the Benghazi terrorist attack. They said this, and I quote, ‘The entire reason this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.’ [Boos]. No, President Obama, it’s an issue because this is the first time in thirty-three years that a United States Ambassador has been assassinated. Mr. President, this is an issue because we were attacked successfully by terrorists on the anniversary of 9/11. President Obama, this is an issue because Americans wonder why it was it took so long for you and your administration to admit that this was a terrorist attack. This is a very serious issue. These are very serious questions and the American people deserve serious answers. And I hope they come soon.”
Well said. The preventable, lethal 9/11 attack was terrible and outrageous in itself, obviously. But it's the disintegrating cover-up that truly constitutes "playing politics" here, and if anything, Republicans have held back in their criticism. Given appalling accounts like the one we witnessed on Anderson Cooper's show Wednesday night, this should be a political disaster for the Obama administration. They've screwed up royally, four Americans are dead, and they've been caught misleading the public on numerous key elements of the attack.
UPDATE - In Virginia today, Romney seized on Biden's comments at the debate and turned up the heat, accusing the Vice President of "doubling down on denial:"
UPDATE II - Wow. A new low:
Vice President Joseph Biden speaks only for himself and President Barack Obama, and neither man was aware that U.S. officials in Libya had asked the State Department for more security before the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi, a top White House official told The Cable. Biden has come under fire for saying at Thursday night's debate, "We weren't told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there."
The Cable asked Deputy National Security Advisor for Communications Ben Rhodes whether Biden was speaking for the entire Obama administration, including the State Department, which acknowledged receiving multiple requests for more Libya security in the months before the attacks. Rhodes said that Biden speaks only for himself and the president and neither of them knew about the requests at the time. The State Department security officials who testified before House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa's panel Wednesday never said they had made their requests to the president, Rhodes pointed out.
In an attempt to shield the president politically (and excuse Biden's lies at the debate), the administration is officially admitting that the White House had no clue what was going on in Libya. Astonishing. This president unilaterally waged a war of choice in that country -- ignoring and abusing the law along the way -- bragged about it as an accomplishment, then washed his hands of it. The president was asleep at the switch, and four Americans died -- including a US ambassador. Now that these developments have turned problematic back home (Mitt Romney's fault, natch), other administration officials are trying to take the fall...but they're making the Commander-in-Chief look even more feckless, unengaged, and irresponsible than first thought. This isn't just gross incompetence. It's deadly incompetence.
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography