Skip to comments.Libya Is Debate's First Question -- And Question Left Unanswered
Posted on 10/23/2012 4:10:05 AM PDT by Son House
But although moderator Bob Schieffer of CBS News raised the topic of the Sept. 11 attack in Libya in his first question onstage Monday in Boca Raton, Fla., Romney and then Obama instead responded by broadening the topic to Al Qaeda, the Arab Spring and the Middle East.
Romney only mentioned Libya once, saying that the attack was carried out "apparently by, I think we know now, by terrorists of some kind against our people there."
He went on to congratulate (Obama) on taking out Usama bin Laden and going after the leadership in Al Qaeda. But we cant kill our way out of this mess. Were going to have to put in place a very comprehensive and robust strategy.
Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans were killed in the attack in Benghazi, Libya. The Obama administration has faced criticism for its changing explanation of the attack, in particular claims that it was a "spontaneous" outgrowth of protests over an anti-Islam film.
Intelligence officials still are looking at the possibility that the film played a role in sparking the attack, and it isn't clear how long the attackers had been planning the assault on the consulate -- though some reports say it may have come together in a matter of hours.
In the debate, Obama briefly defended his administration's response to the attack.
"As I indicated in the last debate, when we received that phone call, I immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm's way; number two, that we would investigate exactly what happened, and number three, most importantly, that we would go after those who killed Americans and we would bring them to justice. And that's exactly what we're going to do," he said.
(Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
Next, Obama also claimed "tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying America is our friend". Where was help from the Libyan authorities or the Embassy in Tripoli, any police or military in Libya? The embassy in Tripoli launched an aircraft carrying 22 men, just what did they do when they arrived?
Here's where a Senior State Department Official tells us that calls went out "the very beginning of this incident". Obama didn't give any details when he claimed "I immediately made sure that, number one, that we did everything we could to secure those Americans who were still in harm's way". That's where the question should have a better answer. What are the orders that where given? Who got the orders? How were those orders carried out?
Background Conference Call With Senior State Department Officials
October 9, 2012
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL:...I neglected to mention from the top that that agent from the top of this incident, or the very beginning of this incident, has been on the phone. He had called the quick reaction security team, he had called the Libyan authorities, he had called the Embassy in Tripoli, and he had called Washington. He had them all going to ask for help.
Next, more on the timeline of the agents call for help at "the very beginning", that went to Washington, the Libyan authorities, and the Embassy in Tripoli.
First, Aid the Living
October 21, 2012
On September 11, at about 10 p.m. Libyan time (4 p.m. in Washington), Ambassador Chris Stevens and a small staff were inside our consulate in Benghazi when terrorists attacked. The consulate staff immediately contacted Washington and our embassy in Tripoli. The White House, the Pentagon, the State Department, and numerous military headquarters monitored the entire battle in real time via the phone calls from Benghazi and video from a drone overhead.
Our diplomats fought for seven hours without any aid from outside the country...
By 4:30 p.m. Washington time, the main consulate building was on fire and Ambassador Stevens was missing. In response, the embassy in Tripoli launched an aircraft carrying 22 men. Benghazi was 400 miles away.
At 5 p.m., President Obama met with Vice President Biden and Secretary of Defense Panetta in the Oval Office. The U.S. military base in Sigonella, Sicily, was 480 miles away from Benghazi. Stationed at Sigonella were Special Operations Forces, transport aircraft, and attack aircraft a much more formidable force than 22 men from the embassy.
In the past, presidents had taken immediate actions to protect Americans. In 1984, President Reagan had ordered U.S. pilots to force an airliner carrying terrorists to land at Sigonella. Reagan had acted inside a 90-minute window while the aircraft with the terrorists was in the air. The Obama national-security team had several hours in which to move forces from Sigonella to Benghazi.
Fighter jets could have been at Benghazi in an hour; the commandos inside three hours. If the attackers were a mob, as intelligence reported, then an F18 in afterburner, roaring like a lion, would unnerve them. This procedure was applied often in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars. Conversely, if the attackers were terrorists, then the U.S. commandos would eliminate them. But no forces were dispatched from Sigonella.
Obama also claimed "tens of thousands of Libyans after the events in Benghazi marching and saying America is our friend"
IMO, the question from the moderator was to general for Romney to be specific on Libya. The question asked to Romney was ‘How is Obama’s Middle East policy unraveling?’
Romney wasted his first response, as usual, he gives 1.5 minutes to general blahblah, mostly regarding Obama’s blahblah. Leaves himself only the end of his time for a few jabs. With 2.0 minutes aimed directly at Obama’s incompetence and being AWOL during the consulate attack, he could have left Obama stammering and twitching. Force Obama to answer hard questions: why no rescue etc. Were you following the live feed, or getting phonecall updates while on your regular routine?
Instead, Romney punted, and followed Obama lead to take the discussion general.Obama was dancing lead partnter most of the night, forcing Romney to follow.
I was not impressed. Romney was a great businessman I’m sure, but last night was where the typical “lawyer politician” would have been better. Any former prosecutor, say, Rudy Giuliani, would have torn Obama to shreds.
Remember back to the original “Libyan Liberation.” Qaddafi was pressing the dissidents hard, back to Behghazi, which as he said, was Al Quada HQ, the city that sent the most jihadists to Iraq and A-stan to fight the Amriki crusaders.
IOW, Qaddafi, then our ally or at least our bitch, (paid reps for Lockerbie, etc), was trying to destroy the big Al Queda nest in that area, then reconsolidate power. We intervened to save Behghazi and eventually topple Qaddafi, but the end result is we saved the biggest nest of Al Qaeda in the Maghreb.
And this is the thanks we get. It's the Aesop's fable about the farmer and the frozen viper, said snake warms up against his chest and immediately bites his rescuer, saying, “It's my nature.”
I think that there’s a significant reason that Romney didn’t go after the Libya situation. He knows something we don’t know. Either that the subject presented a debate trap, he’s saving that issue for future use (as in prosecution of involved parties), or there’s some important intelligence surrounding the issue that he didn’t want to divulge. He avoided the issue all night.
In a debate like this, any general relation to the question, and you are off and running on a line of attack. Mod says, “Mideast policy anything” and you bore in on Benghazi and the seven hour attack.
In the other debate when the AWB comes up, you should go right after Fast and Furious, the coverup, dead Mexicans and US Agents, cynical admin policy of sliming the 2nd Amd to get gun control “under the radar” etc.
You have to keep hitting, and forcing your opposite to answer charges, and not have time to make his own. You set the agenda, not your opponent.
Both on Behghazi and Fast and Furious, Romney slipped or missed all of his easy KO punches. Last night, Obama was lead dance partner most of the way. So disappointing.
Of course Romney could have answered more specifically without divulging classified information that he has been given. He chose to avoid it with a 10-mile pole for fear of how the media could use whatever he said against himself.
Insofar as he gave his opposition (Obama, Democrats and the MSM) absolutely zero that could be used against him, he succeeded.
Yes, it’s infuriating. Yes, he’ll have to be watched and goaded constantly as president not to capitulate to the Dems and call it all his idea.
I know, I was in the GOP in MA when he was guv. We saw it in the last debate as well, when he tried to outflank Obama on the left on immigration by promising ‘comprehensive immigration reform’ in his first year as president.
But that’ll still be a better problem to have than a second Obama term.
I don’t think Romney could have asked specific questions, because the Security briefing may have contained material that couldn’t be addressed by his inside knowledge, for one reason or another. We are going to be the ones doing the media’s job for this. Schieffer should have followed up with Obama if he felt his “Questions remain”
Schieffer’s questions=>(What happened? What caused it? Was it spontaneous? Was it an intelligence failure? Was it a policy failure? Was there an attempt to mislead people about what really happened?)
I think Romney called his bluff. Obama probably spent most of his debate prep rehearsing lies to distort the what really happened in libya and re-write the narrative. Romney didn’t give him a chance to use it. Romney will get him in TV Ads - probably starting today.
. The question asked to Romney was How is Obamas Middle East policy unraveling?...Romney: “Maybe the President can explain to the American people why we spent American treasure, support and NOW American lives to support Al Queada in the first place.”
TRANSCRIPT: Presidential debate on foreign policy at Lynn University
October 22, 2012
Sorry but I think you would be delusional if you think 0 would answer any question Romney would have asked. I think Romney played it smart, punt and hit a touchdown on other plays.
The “was it the intel” side of the Behghazi question is just a red herring. Romney (or any honest reporters) could just focus on public record, all other Westerners out, ambassador begging for more security, Al Q flags flying all around....
There is no debate that White House naivete led to that consulate being left like a Quaker Girl’s Home in the Barbery Coast, or in the middle of Apache territory during an Indian uprising. This is all on the public record, and Obama should have been made to answer why.
Romney is a putz. He was handed a winning issue and he has fumbled it away. The issue you raised is the crucial point in the entire Libya story. The video excuse was an intentional deception, with no foundation of any kind. Obama lied, Americans died. And Romney let him off the hook. Romney is like an expensive suit on a mannequin. Looks great, but no life.
Romney waded through the minefield without stting one off - he knew a lot more than we about what would possibly fly and what would blow up in his face. Zero seemed to get more frustrated throughout even though by all accounts it didn’t seem like he was in real trouble - I’d hazard that it’s precisely because Mitt didn’t step on any of the preset mines and the preset talking points wouldn’t work without the proper trigger.
Women and undecideds.
Women hosted the brawl last time. Romney went for calm composure big picture go after thr undecideds.
Obama was ready for a petty brawl and wear with his scripted zingers.
Romney looked presidential and swayed undecideds. Obama looked petulant and appealed only to his base.
Listen to yourself. Those are questions for a press conference that an honest press corps would have already asked the Bobo. It's not Romney's place, nor should it be, to have to elucidate answers that the MSM deliberately did not pursue, in order to protect their Bobo. That's not the purpose of a debate. It was a trap, and Romney deftly walked around it.
I completely agree with you. Last night I was upset that Romney did not go after Libya. However, there was no way to come out ahead on Libya at this point.
It is one big disaster with Obama camp still claiming that it is possible that the video was the start of it...because intelligence INDICATES it is possible. Even the State Dept has now come out and said that the video may be responsible
All Obama has to do is blame it on Intelligence and what can Romney say. Patraeus did tell Congress that there was a protest and it was caused by the video.
Why didn’t Obama send it a team to save those people. Maybe Congress will find out.
We now know, and some of us suspected all along, that Benghazi was a CIA post.
This really lands at their door.