Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bucks stops with her when it comes to who is blame for a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
"I take responsibility" for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, were the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said.
"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.
The blame game began to heat up when Joe Biden said during the vice presidential debate that “we” didn’t know requests for more security were made in Benghazi – a direct contradiction to testimony that revealed those requests had been made but were rejected. The White House tried to clear this up by saying that Biden was speaking for himself and the president - neither of which would have known about these requests. So in other words, and as Katie pointed out, because Biden wasn’t personally told about the requests, the administration isn’t responsible for the attack that left four Americans dead.
In a tense interview with Fox News’ Chris Wallace on Sunday, David Axelrod blatantly pointed fingers at the State Department.
WALLACE: But, David, just the day before, several State Department officials testified under oath that there were repeated requests for more security that were rejected. What is the vice president talking about?
AXELROD: I think the vice president was talking about what the White House knew. There are embassies all over the world and installations all over the world, and these requests go into the security professionals at the State Department. And there is no doubt, some of these matters went into the security department at the state security agency at the State Department. But it didn't come to the White House and that what is the vice president was responding to.
WALLACE: Well, let me ask you directly, does the president take personal responsibility for the fact that repeated requests for more security were made, and were rejected and that that may have contributed to the death of those four Americans? Does he take personal responsibility for that?
AXELROD: Chris, at the top line level, the president of the United States is responsible for everything that happens under his -- on his watch. These were judgments that were made by the security folks at the State Department and, of course we will review that whole process and see how those decisions are made, why those decisions were made, and, how we adjust in the future to make sure that we are giving our diplomats the maximum protection we can.
And as Carol wrote just yesterday:
Ed Klein is reporting that Bill Clinton doesn't like this turn of events one bit. As I predicted here, the whole Clinton-Obama dynamic is becoming more fascinating by the day. Indeed, "rev the bus -- someone's going under it" . . . but the Clinton are no doubt determined that Hillary isn't going to be the one to take the fall for this.
Is the issue just heating up, or, one night before the presidential debate, will this play out exactly as Team Obama hopes?
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