Carney Counterattacks: Press Sec Calls Out G.O.P. For Politicizing Benghazi Attacks

by
Owen Poindexter
White House Press Secretary Jay Carney lashed out at reporters for questioning statements made by Susan Rice on Sunday talk shows following the attacks on Benghazi.


Jay Carney got fed up with reporters asking him about statements made by Susan Rice on Benghazi. PHOTO: Reuters

White House Press  Secretary Jay Carney has heard enough questioning of Susan Rice. He gave a fiery rejoinder to a reporter's question about Susan Rice's statements on Sunday talk shows following the Benghazi attacks:

What is the point of the focus on this? It could have been me. We all relied on information from the intelligence community.

Here’s what Carney is saying: the talking points were what they were, and Susan Rice did not write them. She merely repeated them. Rice was relying on the same intelligence as everyone else, so why single her out when she was simply stating the intelligence community’s best sense of what had happened in Benghazi? Because Republicans want to block her nomination or confirmation as secretary of state.

It’s pure speculation, but interesting timing that Carney’s rebuttal comes a day after military journalist Tom Ricks caused a stir on Fox News by saying that the attacks were “hyped” by Fox News, which he called “a wing of the Republican party.” Given that a neutral source had called out the G.O.P. for its bluster over Rice, Carney may have felt emboldened to do the same.

If Democrats can convince the public that Republicans (and Fox News) are hyping the Benghazi attacks for political gain, that may be enough to allow Susan Rice to win confirmation to be Secretary of State. This fight has become the first major one of Obama’s second term (which officially starts in January), and a fascinating test of the post-election power dynamics in Washington.

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