Administration losing control of the narrative on Benghazi attack

Walter Russell Mead:

.... As various departments and officials leak to save their careers and retaliate against rivals, grenades keep getting lobbed and emails and memos keep getting leaked. The result is that the attack in Benghazi isn’t fading out of the news. As the last undecided voters make up their minds, the media outlets following this story with the greatest attention keep getting enough ammunition to keep the story alive and force the rest of the media to acknowledge the story, and that doesn’t help a White House simultaneously wrestling with a close election and a massive mutant storm hurtling at the East Coast.

President Obama took office vowing to calm the seas and cool the earth; he is running for re-election in a world gone wild. What the White House wants and needs from Libya is no news at all; it needs for the people there to be quietly minding their business and rebuilding their land. It doesn’t need armed bands and pitched battles and massive assaults on American officials and posts in the city it intervened to save.

The drip drip drip of new revelations, however, is the worst kind of news. Even though many of the new stories are minor, and some contain information that is actively helpful to the White House, anything that keeps this story alive makes the President’s re-election just a little bit tougher.

... the Obama administration believes that civilianizing American political discourse is necessary for Democrats to do well over the long haul, and to shift resources from the defense budget to domestic priorities. Talk of threats and terrorist enemies appalls and disheartens the Democratic base. The President therefore decided to run as the man who built peace and, if given four more years, would build that much more.

He therefore needs for the world to look calm. Anything that undercuts that narrative undercuts his campaign....
It is a campaign in deep trouble at this point.  The President's approval rating is in steep decline and he does not seem to have any answer he is willing to give on events in Benghazi and why no help was provided.  Panetta has said it was a lack of intel, but that doesn't fly when you multiple CIA officers on the ground and in the fight and you have Predator drones overhead to go with the direct information provided from the consulate and the annex.

There are reports that other US assets were also in the area.  The commanding General for Africa command says he was never asked to provide any forces.  Biden may try to persuade us that the no call was a gutsy one, but that would be a heavy lift as they say in Washington.


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