The photo was taken during a Monday face-off against the White House press corps, which on Friday beat up on Obama’s spokesman Jay Carney. Obviously anticipating a similar reception, the Associated Press reports, a testy Obama “denied Republican criticism that his White House was trying to cover up information about the deadly assault in Benghazi, Libya last year.”
He also called the GOP focus on the events of last Sept. 11 a “sideshow,” adding for effect the commonly cited Gertrude Stein line “There is no there there.”
Well that should put to rest once and for all any questions his enemies in government have about the administration’s mishandling of the response to the raid and its subsequent attempts to revise the history of the attacks. How he expects it will mollify his enemies in the media remains to be seen. The AP writes:
Emails disclosed Friday showed that State Department and other senior administration officials pushed for references to prior warnings and al-Qaida [sic] be deleted from the talking points in the days before [U.N. Ambassador Susan] Rice’s appearance on the Sunday talk shows, and one suggested that Congress could use those issues as ammunition against the State Department.
And despite Obama’s contention that it is the GOP that is mounting an assault on his integrity, top Democrat on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee aren’t quite ready to move on. In a letter to the panel’s chairman Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) wrote:
If our committee is truly interested in improving the security of American diplomatic personnel overseas, members of our committee and the American public should hear first-hand from the individuals who have done the most exhaustive review of these attacks.
The reference was to veteran diplomat Thomas Pickering and retired Adm. Mike Mullen, whom Issa has asked to testify.
Issa said he wants to know with whom the pair spoke to reach their conclusions about [then-Secretary of State Hillary] Clinton [and her role in the policy failure that led up to and followed the raid on the consulate]. Cummings suggested that they testify in public before the committee on May 22.
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