White House photo
President Obama with Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the morning of Sept. 12, 2012.
Reflecting on this week's debate, the argument over President Obama's response to the attack in Benghazi continues to be a stand-out moment. Mitt Romney thought he'd caught the president in an important misstep -- Obama said he'd called the attack an "act of terror" the day after the violence -- but the moment quickly collapsed when even the moderator conceded the president was correct.
Yesterday, House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King (R-N.Y.) tried a new line of attack: sure, Obama called the attack an act of terror while speaking in the Rose Garden the morning of Sept. 12, but he didn't use the phrase quickly enough in the speech.
"I'm going to use my words very carefully. I think the president's conduct and his behavior on this issue has been shameful. And, first of all, as far as it being an act of terror, the president was almost four minutes into his statement on September 12th before he mentioned an act of terror.... It wasn't until he was well into the remarks."
Oh for crying out loud.
Follow this circuitous line of criticism:
First Republicans said Obama didn't call the attack an act of terror until two weeks later. Then they said Obama may have used the phrase the day after the attack, but he didn't really mean it. Now the complaint has been reduced to King whining that the line should have been higher up in the speech?
In other words, President Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared together to address the crisis at 10:43 a.m., the morning after the attack. The chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee complained, on national television, that the president referred to the violence as an act of terror at 10:47 a.m., instead of 10:44 a.m.
This is what it's come to. Republicans were almost giddy with the prospect of complaining that Obama waited "almost two weeks," which has now been downgraded to "almost four minutes." No wonder Romney no longer seems eager to talk about the issue.