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Republicans Tee Off on Libya

11:59 AM, Oct 28, 2012 • By MICHAEL WARREN
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On Sunday's political talk shows, several Republicans criticized the Obama administration's response to the September 11, 2012, terrorist attack in Benghazi, Libya. Here's Senator John McCain of Arizona on CBS's Face the Nation:

You know, this administration is very good at touting and giving all the details like when they got Bin Laden. But now, we know that there were tapes, recordings inside the consulate during this fight, and they've gotten—they came—the F.B.I. finally got in and took those, and now they're classified as "top secret." Why would they be top secret? So the president went on various shows, despite what he said he said in the Rose Garden, about terrorist acts, he went on several programs, including "The View" including "Letterman" including before the U.N., where he continued to refer, days later, many days later, to this as a spontaneous demonstration because of a hateful video. We know that is patently false. What did the president know? When did he know it? And what did he do about it?

McCain said for "literally days and days" the White House "told the American people something that had no basis in fact whatsoever."

Newt Gingrich, on ABC's This Week:

But the bigger issue is, whether it’s unemployment or it is what happened in Benghazi, where we’ve had this strange situation over the weekend that the Secretary of Defense apparently refused to obey the President’s order, if the president is telling the truth and he actually instructed his assistants to get aid to Benghazi, we're now being told that the Secretary of Defense canceled that. And I think these kinds of things all drag down the Obama campaign.

Ohio senator Rob Portman talked on Fox News Sunday about a "shocking breakdown" with regard to the Obama administration's response:

This is not about politics.  This is about a huge national security issue that affects all of us and there was a shocking breakdown, operationally, not to have the security there in the first place.   And then not to respond to these guys, in their pleas for help for 7 hours, during a firefight.  It’s unbelievable and now, we are hearing that the president of the United States, based on his own words, issued a directive immediately after he found out about the firefight, saying that he wanted to be sure those people on the ground were safe and they were getting what they needed.  It didn't happen.  This means either that the president's order was not followed, which would be a breakdown in terms of the White House procedure, or, it means the order wasn’t issued.  We need to find out about this, it is not about politics, it is a very serious situation.  After the fact, of course, there’s also been a lot of confusion about what happened and why it happened.

Here's Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin, also on Fox News Sunday:

Chris, the American people have the right to know. And that is what they are demanding here in Wisconsin. I mean, let's face it. What was the president doing during those 7 hours? Did he give that directive? Or didn't he? Did Leon Panetta directly defy his directive? I mean, what happened? Who sent out,  who sent Ambassador Rice out five days later when they knew it was a terrorist attack, that it was pre-planned, sent her out on the Sunday talk shows to say that in fact this was a spontaneous reaction to of course the video?

Virginia governor Bob McDonnell, on CNN's State of the Union:

The mishandling of the situation in Benghazi. No answers, no transparency, 45 days after the fact is a great concern. Either the president gave an order that was disobeyed by the Secretary of Defense to provide support in Benghazi or he didn't, and I think people want answers before this election on that, so that's what's going to determine the outcome.

And Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus on CNN:

There are two things people are talking about. They’re talking about the economy, and they're talking about what happened in Benghazi. Why after a cry for help to Leon Panetta and after the President gave a directive to protect – he claims he gave a correct directive to protect those people Panetta got a cry for help. Panetta now claims that he didn't – he told the personnel to stand down. So either the President didn't give the directive or the president isn't being truthful or perhaps Leon Panetta acted as commander in chief. That’s what -- this is the subject right now that people are talking about, and the economy.

On NBC's Meet the Press, Carly Fiorina fought back against Obama's latest "trust" attack on Mitt Romney by turning the question into one on Libya:

On the issue of trust, what is going on with regard to Libya? I mean here we have an extraordinary thing where the President comes out on Friday and says I directed that everything possible should be done to aid our embassy under attack. That attack went on for seven hours, we now know that Secretary Of Defense saying he denied requests for help over that seven hours. Where is the leadership? But it's a trust issue, it’s a trust issue.

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