October 11th, 2012
07:10 PM ET
2 years ago

Team Obama: Romney and Ryan made Libya attack political

(CNN) - Remarks from one of President Barack Obama's top campaign aides on the terror attack in Benghazi, Libya, drew a sharp rebuke from Mitt Romney Thursday at a campaign event in North Carolina.

Romney was reacting to comments Stephanie Cutter made on CNN earlier in the day. She said the political firestorm ignited by the attack on an American consulate in Benghazi was a result of Romney and his running mate Paul Ryan using the event to attack the president.

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"The entire reason that this has become the, you know, political topic it is is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan," said Cutter, the president's deputy campaign manager. She was speaking to CNN's Brooke Baldwin.

"It's a big part of their stump speech," she continued, adding the GOP vice presidential candidate has "made a political circus all over this country of the terrible tragedy that happened in Libya."

Romney said the remark was an indication Obama and his team "fail to grasp the seriousness of the challenges that we face here in America."

"No, President Obama, it's an issue because this is the first time in 33 years that a United States ambassador has been assassinated," Romney said at his event in Ashville. "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 to admit that this was a terrorist attack."

"This is a very serious issue," he continued. "These are very serious questions, and the American people deserve serious answers and I hope they come soon."

Cutter's remarks came the day after a contentious Congressional hearing where Republicans insinuated that Obama's administration was responsible for a lack of preparedness ahead of the September 11 attack, which killed four Americans, including the United States' ambassador to Libya.

Critics accuse the administration of trying to cover up or play down the attack through initial statements that described it as a spontaneous act stemming from protests over an anti-Muslim film rather than a planned terrorist assault.

Cutter said on CNN that the State Department and other agencies had been completely forthright in the aftermath of the attack, rejecting the notion that administration officials had purposely misled the American public about the government's handling of the attack.

"The administration has been open and honest from day one about the Benghazi attack," Cutter said. "As more information has become available, they've made that information available to the American people and to members of Congress. But, you know, when a crisis occurs, when an attack occurs, that information is gathered and over time it's more clear what happened."

Andrea Saul, Romney's national press secretary, said in a statement earlier in the day Cutter was wrong in her assertion the GOP nominee and his running mate were the reason the Benghazi attack became political.

"The reason it is an issue is because, for the first time since 1979, an American ambassador was assassinated and President Obama's foreign policy strategy of 'leading from behind' is failing," Saul wrote. "This administration has continually misled the American public about what happened in Benghazi and, rather than be truthful about the sequence of events, has instead skirted responsibility and dodged questions. The American people deserve straight answers about this tragic event and a president who can provide leadership, not excuses."


Filed under: 2012 • Foreign Policy • Mitt Romney • President Obama
soundoff (92 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    It's true. They politicized it because hey, dead Americans = GOP profit. Cry about it Teatrolls. Your tears sustain me.

    October 11, 2012 03:38 pm at 3:38 pm |
  2. Seamus

    Refusing to beef up security in order to attempt to give the appearance of a stable middle east due to Obama admin policies, and that refusal getting 4 of our people killed because it's not stable, that's not the issue... it's Romney and Ryan talking about it. Is anyone actually buying this tripe?

    October 11, 2012 03:40 pm at 3:40 pm |
  3. rosoc

    Maybe if obambam would of told the truth and not lied than this wouldnt have happened
    They blamed it on a movie, do you really think we are that dumb to believe that line of B.S.
    turns out AlQueada is stronger than ol bambam wants us to believe

    October 11, 2012 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  4. Elephant Memory

    Romney said in the 47% video that if something were to happen such as the 1979 Iran hostage at our Embassy of course he would take advantage of it politically. For those of you too young to remember or don't know history google it before you reply. Romney and his rich friends want to rule our Country. We don't have a mornachy and never will. Again google monarchy if you don't know what it means. Romneynites you are being suckered and brainwashed by a cult leader.

    October 11, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  5. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    Mother of Slain State Dept. Official Tired of Being Lied To and Stonewalled by Obama Administration
    9:01 PM, Oct 10, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER

    We just want to know why the Obama administration LIED and so very poorly.

    October 11, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  6. bowlkoff

    I also bought the crap they sold me about the original 9-11. Wait Seamus you probably forgot.

    October 11, 2012 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  7. Joe

    So is Cutter saying that Romney should announce a strategy for Libya? He is not president yet, and his words have no power over the armed forces. Wouldnt it be easier if her boss would actually do his work and announce a stragedy. Especially after they were caught shooting first and aiming later with regards to the video that they blamed the attack on? Should O do his job, or would they prefer Romney to lead again?

    October 11, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  8. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    This administration obviously has FAILED when it comes to the economy AND foreign policy.

    Hussein Obama = EIPC FAIL

    October 11, 2012 03:48 pm at 3:48 pm |
  9. captandan73

    Really? and Obama doesn't lie or politicize to gain advantage? ...time for a leadership change in DC.....

    October 11, 2012 03:50 pm at 3:50 pm |
  10. robert

    the obama campiagn is crying because the tables have turned – like bunch of rich kids who cry and take thier ball home

    October 11, 2012 03:51 pm at 3:51 pm |
  11. Borderless

    Creative Blaming Level: Obama

    In a twist of irony Team Obama has actually attempted to shift focus of blame for their responsibility in the death of Ambassador Stevens to Romney for daring to question the administration's handling of it. There is no shame in team Obama. None. Do anything. Say anything. I can actually see signs of Obama and Biden both being sociopaths.

    Do the right thing. Romney/Ryan 2012

    October 11, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  12. EdR

    The bottom line is this. The worst thing that could happen to this country right now is for us to enter into another unnecessary conflict that will cost us more lives and treasure. Romney wants to expend our military and our military presence in the world. Obama has proven to have a level head and will do what is right and NECESSARY... to protect this country. End of discussion.

    October 11, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  13. DEMOCRATS ARE IN FACT THE BIGGEST TAX CHEATS AROUND. Timothy Geithner THE PERFECT EXAMPLE.

    Democrats being ignorant of their own.

    "I'd feel sorry for democrats if they weren't so stupid" ~JG

    October 11, 2012 03:52 pm at 3:52 pm |
  14. Alger Dave

    So, the candidate is not allowed to talk about his opinion on foreign policy issues? The whole fiasco clearly showed that the State Department (part of Obama's Executive Branch for those who didn't take civics) was taking security assets out of Libya at the time they were getting more and more requests for additional security from Ambassador Stevens. Then, they blamed the incident on the movie instead of calling it a terrorist attack. In fact, now the State Dept. is admitting that there wasn't even a protest at the Benghazi site at all! Just an attack. If no one pressured them on this, do you think they'd share with the American public that they screwed up on this issue? Why would Obama let that kind of info out the door unless he was pressured to do so. It makes him look bad – it's 'off message'. Now Obama's surrogates are crying foul? Where were they when Amb. Stevens needed more security detail?

    October 11, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  15. 4moreyears

    I don't know you any of you remember last year Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said that they needed more security for Embassy's but congress voted it down. So who is really the blame. Talk about a conspiracy. Ole Mitt and them thought they were gonna be able to still this election easy. America has waken up. We will not fall for the banana in the tail pipe again.

    October 11, 2012 03:54 pm at 3:54 pm |
  16. sonny chapman

    Sure, and next the Dems. will say that George W. Bush & Karl Rove politicized the 9-11-01 Terrorist Attack that happened under their watch. The nerve of those Commies !

    October 11, 2012 03:55 pm at 3:55 pm |
  17. edvice

    Republicans cut funding for state dept. security but twist the facts to make it look like the Obama administration droped the ball lol same old story politics as usual smh

    October 11, 2012 03:56 pm at 3:56 pm |
  18. Yanni

    @Elephant Memory
    Thank you for bringing this point. I had said the same thing before. This tells you all you need to know about Mitt's motive to step on the stage to blaming the admiration and the embassy worker while Americans are being shot at and dying

    October 11, 2012 03:58 pm at 3:58 pm |
  19. Mikey

    Nice blame game Obama campaign. Do you realize how silly you sound when you say: "Romney & Ryan are bringing up a relevant foreign event that makes us look bad! Mommy, make them stop talking about it!"

    October 11, 2012 03:59 pm at 3:59 pm |
  20. Sniffit

    "Refusing to beef up security in order to attempt to give the appearance of a stable middle east due to Obama admin policies,"

    Hey, genius, guess what? Libya isn't the middle east. "Moran."

    October 11, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  21. urnso2

    what about the video.

    October 11, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  22. Marie MD

    I take it that the mother of one of the victims telling these twits not to politicize her son's death didn't reach their full of money ears?
    We don't need any more wars. The twit doesn't want chinamor india to be the police of the world? I say let them have it
    Unless and until all of your non serving sons join any branch of the armed services please STFU about another war and sending more of that 47%+ to die while you sit in your car elevator mansion. Disgraceful human beings that you both are!

    October 11, 2012 04:00 pm at 4:00 pm |
  23. Scott in Michigan

    Stephanie Cutter may be one of the most pathetic individuals I have ever witnessed. Our Ambassador is dead, murdered, at the hands of terrorists. The mother of one dead American says on CNN she has been lied to by the administration, yet this administration is getting a virtual free pass by the media? ENOUGH ALREADY! VOTE HIM OUT!

    October 11, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  24. Sniffit

    "So is Cutter saying that Romney should announce a strategy for Libya? He is not president yet, and his words have no power over the armed forces."

    That fact that you believe that "foreign policy" and the military are one and the same speaks volumes regarding the idiocy of the conservative mindset.

    October 11, 2012 04:02 pm at 4:02 pm |
  25. urnso2

    What was clear from Susan Rice's comments is that our goverment has a lack of intelligence,

    CNN had better intelligence than the administration,

    October 11, 2012 04:03 pm at 4:03 pm |
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