May 1st, 2014
05:20 PM ET
7 months ago

Graham to CNN: Jay Carney 'believes that we're all dumb'

Updated 5:53 p.m. ET, 5/2/2014

(CNN) - Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was offended by White House spokesman Jay Carney's comments about new emails that reinforce Republicans' claims that the White House purposely gave misleading information about the Benghazi attack for political reasons.

"I guess he believes that we're all dumb," the South Carolina Republican told CNN Chief Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash on Thursday.

"To say that this wasn't trying to shape the Benghazi story is inconsistent with the document itself, flies in face of the facts, and yet another insulting, misleading lie."

The new documents indicate that when White House officials were preparing then-U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice to appear on news shows just days after the deadly assault, they outlined a set of talking points about demonstrations sparked by an anti-Muslim video. During her interviews Rice blamed the attack on the protests.

However, the intelligence community later said the event was a result of a coordinated terrorist attack–not protests.

The talking points for Rice have been at the center of a largely partisan debate since September 2012 over who crafted the memos and why the protests were blamed.

Carney said this week that the newly released emails were referring to the overall political climate in the Middle East in September 2012, when there were demonstrations in other parts of the Muslim world over the video.

"This document, as I said, was explicitly not about Benghazi, but about the general dynamic in the Arab - or in the Muslim world at the time," Carney said Wednesday. He reiterated Thursday that Republicans were simply trying to make political hay out of the issue and "claim a conspiracy."

But Graham, one of the most vocal critics of the administration over the issue, said the newly uncovered emails are "the closest thing to a smoking gun I've seen to prove" the White House was purposely trying to mislead the public, just weeks before the 2012 presidential election.

"This was an email trying to shape the story away from what would have been a damaging admission of failure of foreign policy seven weeks before an election," he continued.

Graham, who's running for re-election this fall, also pushed against the idea that he's staying on top of the issue just so he can rally Republican voters behind him at the ballot box.

"If that is my motive, it will come out and I will have egg on my face, and I will go down very poorly as a United States senator," he said.


Filed under: Libya • Lindsey Graham
soundoff (37 Responses)
  1. Pander Bear

    GOP: Hmm, we're getting some negative press from having stopped debate on raising the minimum wage and it's an election year. We ever shall we do? BENGHAZI!!! BENGHAZI!!!!! BENGHAZI!!!

    "I will go down very poorly as a United States senator" – Lindsey Graham

    That's the first true thing you've ever said Lindsey.

    May 1, 2014 08:52 pm at 8:52 pm |
  2. DRAKE MALLARD

    Benghazi= partisan propoganda.

    Ronald Reagan was President, and of course he’s the icon of the Republican Party. If you recall our marine barracks in Lebanon was attacked and over 200 marines were killed.Did Ronald Reagan go to war? No, he got the heck out of there.

    Shortly after the barracks bombing, President Ronald Reagan appointed a military fact-finding committee headed by retired Admiral Robert L. J. Long to investigate the bombing. The commission's report found senior military officials responsible for security lapses and blamed the military chain of command for the disaster. It suggested that there might have been many fewer deaths if the barracks guards had carried loaded weapons and a barrier more substantial than the barbed wire the bomber drove over easily. The commission also noted that the "prevalent view" among U.S. commanders was that there was a direct link between the navy shelling of the Muslims at Suq-al-Garb and the truck bomb attack.

    An article in Foreign Policy titled "Lesson Unlearned" argues that the U.S. military intervention in the Lebanese Civil War has been downplayed or ignored in popular history – thus unlearned – and that lessons from Lebanon are "unlearned" as the U.S. militarily intervenes elsewhere in the world

    “Why waste time learning, when ignorance is instantaneous?

    May 1, 2014 08:57 pm at 8:57 pm |
  3. The Republican Party Is Dead To Me

    Carney, is spot on. It's not out of the question to place the word stupid in there as well. Who's to blame though. The 27% that voted, or the 73% that decided to stay home. VOTE. It's your civic duty.

    May 1, 2014 10:08 pm at 10:08 pm |
  4. Anonymous

    Senator, here's a handkerchief. Clean yourself up.

    May 2, 2014 12:10 am at 12:10 am |
  5. Marie MD

    Ms. Lindsey you are dumb and deaf and mute until you can open your pie hole to go after a twice elected President.
    You and your buddy McCain need to retire to mint juleps. You can literally spend the rest of your lives drinking from one house to another. That is if the old AZ man can remember how many he has.
    Good for Seth Meyers to call out McCain on his show when he started grandstanding about everything that is wrong with this country starting with him.

    May 2, 2014 06:28 am at 6:28 am |
  6. TCP/IP

    SC lawmaker calls to undercut evolution in high schools because ‘eyeball = creation’

    And Graham is from SC go figure – so it seems like stupid fits.

    May 2, 2014 07:02 am at 7:02 am |
  7. Dems in PA

    So the White House purposely gave misleading information about the Benghazi attack for political reasons. As Hillary would say “What Does It Matter”. Everyone knows this administration lied; they always lie. This is not an Impeachable offence; this is Treason.

    For you liberal pundits typing to complain:
    (ˈtriːzən) (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) violation or betrayal of the allegiance that a person owes his sovereign or his country.

    May 2, 2014 07:14 am at 7:14 am |
  8. TomInRochNY

    If this is the best you have to prove a grand conspiracy, give up and stop wasting our tax money.

    May 2, 2014 07:23 am at 7:23 am |
  9. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sen. Lindsey Graham said he was offended by White House spokesman Jay Carney's comments about new emails that reinforce Republicans' claims that
    -------------------------------------------------
    Why are Republicans always "offended" by the truth?

    May 2, 2014 07:40 am at 7:40 am |
  10. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    "If that is my motive, it will come out and I will have egg on my face,"

    It might look like albumen in some ways, but that ain't egg.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Eeeww Ms. Graham!
    Lol!

    May 2, 2014 07:43 am at 7:43 am |
  11. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Sniffit

    "If that is my motive, it will come out and I will have egg on my face,"

    It might look like albumen in some ways, but that ain't egg.
    -------------------------------------------------
    Tissue please... he-he!

    May 2, 2014 07:45 am at 7:45 am |
  12. Dominican mama 4 Obama

    Graham, one of the most vocal critics of the administration over the issue, said the newly uncovered emails are "the closest thing to a smoking gun I've seen to prove" the White House was purposely trying to mislead the public
    -------------------------------------------------
    "This is as close to a smoking gun as we're going to get, so let's run with it"
    FIFY

    May 2, 2014 07:49 am at 7:49 am |
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