Rep. Peter King (R-NY) managed to contradict two right-wing attacks on President Obama’s handling of last month’s assault in Libya within less than two minutes.
The major Republican talking points are that the Obama administration waited 14 days to refer to the attack in Benghazi as terrorism and that the President did not specifically describe the attack in Benghazi in his Sept. 12 address in the Rose Garden.
On CNN last night, King both stuck with those talking points and undermined them. The New York Republican acknowledged that Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as “an act of terror” on Sept. 12. But now, King is incensed that Obama waited 4 minutes to say it (thus, a significant step back from the previous 14 days GOP talking point). King then said the whole thing doesn’t matter anyway because he wouldn’t “expect” Obama to have a totally informed assessment of the incident as soon as Sept. 12, the day after the assault:
KING: 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 followed a paragraph in which he was talking after September 11th.
When he — earlier in his statement, when he was talking about the attack in Benghazi, he didn’t say anything about terrorism at all — nothing about an act of terror. It wasn’t until he was well into the remarks and anyone looking at it will be confuse, is he talking about Benghazi or is he talking about September 11th or all acts of terror? […]
And I don’t expect the president to be able to say on September 12th, this was definitely a terrorist attack. But to deny the fact, to ignore the fact that al Qaeda affiliates from that region, there had been terrorist attacks before, to me, this was politics at its worst, because you’re talking about the loss of American life.
Watch King’s remarks here:
Following the debate, Obama was subsequently deemed a liar by the right-wing for his accurate claim about his Sept. 12 remarks. King’s statement effectively narrows the time-frame under attack by Republicans from two weeks to a period of four minutes. The admission that he would not expect Obama to definitively call the attack terrorism on Sept. 12 does manage to track more closely with the opinion of intelligence experts, in that intelligence reporting often changes as new information is analyzed.