Call the GOP Out
President Obama said today that the ongoing GOP “Benghazi is Watergate” nonsense is a sideshow. Unfortunately, he is wrong for two reasons: one because the State Department did modify the original CIA talking points. And two, because this story will continue to have legs until the White House points out how the House GOP shares this one for rejecting additional embassy security funding in 2011.
Look, State's own emails confirm that the original CIA talking points were changed. As confirmed by State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland, the reason why she wanted the original Agency talking points changed was that the CIA was ascribing the Benghazi attacks to Al Qaeda, a newfound capability not contained in previous analyses to State. Nuland, who is an experienced Washington official from both Republican and Democratic administrations didn’t want the Agency to now sandbag Foggy Bottom for not paying attention to local terrorist groups when the Agency themselves never previously identified such a threat. This was a perfectly legitimate reason for wanting the original CIA talking points changed.
The White House will not get ahead of the curve on this issue until they push back publicly against the GOP complicity in poor embassy security. But to do that, the White House will have to finally accept that they are dealing with an opposition that has decided to ignore the 2012 election and to continue the "oppose at all costs" strategy hatched the night of the 2008 inauguration. Obama needs to put the Benghazi hype into an overall GOP "search and destroy" narrative that highlights the roadblocks raised on his second term, exemplified by the stonewalling of his cabinet appointees. Until Obama is willing to do so and get over this pollyannish BS about "working together", he will fail to escape the GOP's trap.