President Obama Defensive About Benghazi

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NBC Nightly News
Brian WIlliams/Chuck Todd
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NBCUniversal Media, LLC.
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During a press conference, President Barack Obama appears defiant over his administration's handling of Benghazi. Obama says the State Department looked at key White House emails months ago, adding that this has been "spun up" as though there's something new to the story.



"President Obama Defensive About Benghazi." Chuck Todd, correspondent. NBC Nightly News. NBCUniversal Media. 13 May 2013. NBC Learn. Web. 8 September 2018.


Todd, C. (Reporter), & WIlliams, B. (Anchor). (2013, May 13). President Obama Defensive About Benghazi. [Television series episode]. NBC Nightly News. Retrieved from


"President Obama Defensive About Benghazi" NBC Nightly News, New York, NY: NBC Universal, 05/13/2013. Accessed Sat Sep 8 2018 from NBC Learn:


President Obama Defensive About Benghazi


As we mentioned, this is just one of two growing scandals that got the President visibly energized today. The other involves criticism of the administration’s handling of the attacks in Benghazi. On that front, the President took the opportunity to hit back hard over accusations of some sort of a cover-up saying that defies logic. Our political director Chief White House Correspondent Chuck Todd with us from the North Lawn tonight. Chuck, good evening.

CHUCK TODD, reporting:

Good evening, Brian. At the joint press conference, today, it was quite the turn--the President, a scathing critique of the IRS, and then he got defensive over the criticisms of his administration on those Benghazi attacks and what happened in the hours and days after the attack. The President was defiant at times and even called the Republican-led investigation into his administration a political circus. A defiant President today responding after a weekend of criticism from Republicans over his administration’s handling of Benghazi.

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: The whole issue of this of-- of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow.

TODD: And he was dismissive of Republican critiques of how the White House, State Department and CIA edited those talking points noting Congress had looked at key White House e-mails months ago.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: They reviewed them several months ago, concluded that in fact there was nothing afoul in terms of the process that we had used. And suddenly, three days ago this gets spun up as if there's something new to the story. There’s no there there.

TODD: The President mocked the cover-up charge noting that a few days after U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice went on the Sunday talk shows and placed the blame of the attack primarily on an inflammatory YouTube film, another member of the administration briefed Congress days later and called it terrorism.

PRESIDENT OBAMA: Who executes some sort of cover-up or effort to tamp things down for three days? So the whole thing defies logic.

TODD: Many Republicans still didn’t find the President’s explanation satisfactory. And today Congressman Darrell Issa who chaired last week’s hearings also said he doesn’t accept the notion that during the seven-hour attack, a military response was impossible.

REPRESENTATIVE DARRELL ISSA (R-California, file): Quite frankly, you can take off from Washington, DC, On a commercial flight and practically be in Benghazi by the end of seven hours.

TODD: But former Defense Secretary Robert Gates disagrees.

ROBERT GATES (Former Defense Secretary, file): And to send some small number of special forces or other troops in without knowing what the environment is, without knowing what the threat is, I would not have approved that because we just don’t-- it’s sort of a cartoonish impression of military capabilities and military forces.

TODD: And while the White House is a dismissive of what Capitol Hill is doing, Congressional Republicans are moving on with the investigation later this week Brian. They’re going to hear from Ambassador Tom Pickering and former Joint Chiefs Chairman Mike Mullen--these are the two men that led the internal review at the State Department. The main question Congress has, Brian, why didn’t these two gentlemen interview Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, and we go on.

WILLIAMS: Chuck Todd with the second front today at the White House. Chuck, thanks.