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Talking point tiff

"Talking point tiff" Continued...

Because of her possible Cabinet nomination, Republicans in the Senate will continue to press her on the inaccurate accounts she gave in the event’s immediate aftermath.

But with the Democrats gaining seats in the Senate it may be difficult for Republicans to hold Rice and others accountable for the revised narrative. While Republicans still control the House, it is the Senate where Obama’s top Cabinet officials receive confirmation.

Rice issued her own statement on Tuesday, saying “neither I nor anyone else in the administration intended to mislead the American people at any stage in this process.”

The White House tried to dismiss the controversy. “The focus on—some might say obsession on—comments made on Sunday shows seems to me and to many to be misplaced,” spokesman Jay Carney said Tuesday.

The battle over talking point revisions will continue. But what should not be lost are larger questions over the inadequate security measures in place in Benghazi. In mid-August, a month before the attacks, intelligence reports said there were as many as 10 al-Qaeda-affiliated groups operating in Benghazi. The area was dangerous enough for the British to close their consulate and for the Red Cross to leave. Yet, according to Petraeus’ testimony, the consulate security was so light that the attackers could walk right in and set it on fire. Stevens died of smoke inhalation.

“We know mistakes were made, and we’ve got to learn from that,” said Sen. Saxby Chambliss, R-Ga.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Edward Lee Pitts
Edward Lee Pitts

Lee teaches journalism at Dordt College in Sioux Center, Iowa, and is the associate dean of the World Journalism Institute.


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