Top Mitt Romney surrogate Rudy Giuliani admitted that the GOP is accusing President Obama of covering up the violence that led to the death of an American ambassador in Libya for political gain.
During an appearance on CNN’s Starting Point on Monday, the former New York City mayor argued that the administration is purposely delaying investigations into the incident until after the election to “cover up” its own failures. But asked to substantiate the claim, Giuliani became agitated. He announced that he did not have to give Obama the benefit of the doubt or withhold judgment about the incident until a full investigation is complete because the president is a Democrat:
SOLEDAD O’BRIEN (HOST): The one thing I’m debating with you is just specifics. When you quote someone or you paraphrase them the only thing I ask is that you get that accurate. That’s all I ask.
GIULIANI: We’re also entitled to interpret what the president is saying without this, like, massive defense of everything he says.
Q: Do you think, foreign policy, including Benghazi is going to play a significant role in the election? Because my bias would be to think — it’s really interesting for us to talk about — but I think people are essentially going to vote on the economy.
GIULIANI: I think if, in fact, this becomes a question of the president’s lack of leadership, then it cuts into the economy as well. It’s beginning to become like that. The White house — the White House has been remarkably — The White House has fumbled this — whether it’s a deliberate cover-up or they’re making it look like a cover-up they have fumbled the ball four or five times here. Several contradictions. Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give them as you do, all the benefit of the doubt.
Republicans have a long history of politicizing acts of terrorism for political advantage: from using the 9/11 terrorist attacks to push the country into a war in Iraq, to portraying Democrats as terrorist sympathizers to score political victories in 2002 and 2004. Giuliani himself ran his presidential campaign on a “noun, verb and 9/11” and Romney’s first political instinct upon learning of violence in Libya was to accuse President Obama of apologizing for terrorism and sympathizing with the people who killed Amb. Christopher Stevens.
On Fox News, Giuliani encouraged Romney to exploit the incident:
BILL HEMMER (HOST): David Axelrod made the claim Mitt Romney is doing his best to exploit this. Is there argument to be made there? How was this handled on?
GIULIANI: He should be exploiting it. I mean, there is real chance, there is a cover-up here. They’re trying to run out the clock. Hillary Clinton appoints a commission that will investigate. They will not report until next January or February.