Katie LaPotin & Francesca Chambers, Red Alert Politics, May 13, 2013
President Obama accused Congressional Republicans of turning the Benghazi talking points scandal into a “political circus” Monday.
“We dishonor them when we turn things like this into a political circus. What happened was tragic, it was carried out by extremists inside Libya, we are out there trying to hunt them down so it doesn’t happen again,” the president said during a joint White House press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron.
The president had been asked about the talking points after ABC News revealed Friday that they had undergone 12 revisions, and that certain words were scrubbed out of the talking points to eliminate references to terrorism. White House Press Secretary Jay Carney confirmed the revisions in his train wreck press conference Friday, claiming that the Administration only requested that a few words be changed, and that they were not “substantive” in nature. He claimed that the latest round of questions about Benghazi were the result of a Republican led “effort to politicize it.”
During his press conference Monday, President Obama doubled down on Carney’s claims, saying that the push for the further investigation into the terrorist attack stems from “political motivations” by Congressional Republicans.
“The emails that you allude to were provided by us to Congressional committees. They reviewed them several months ago, conclude that in fact there was nothing afoul in terms of the process we had used, and suddenly three days ago this gets spun up as if there’s something new. There’s no there there,” Obama said.
“So if this was some effort on our part to try to downplay what had happened or tamp it down that would be a pretty odd thing that three days later we end up putting out all the information that in fact has now served as the basis for everybody recognizing that this was a terrorist attack and that it may have included elements that were planned by extremists inside of Libya,” he continued.
President Obama also pushed back on assertions from Republicans, namely his nemesis Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), that his administration was trying to cover up the gross incompetency of senior officials such as former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton.
“Who executes some sort of coverup or effort to tamp things down for three days? So the whole thing defies logic, and the fact that this keeps getting churned out frankly a lot to do with political motivations.”
In his Monday press briefing, Carney backed up Obama’s claims that Republicans have turned the Benghazi investigation into a “political sideshow.”
“It really is pure politics,” he said.