Washington, DC (CBS) - The Obama administration is under fire once again for its response to the 2012 attack on the U.S. compound in Benghazi, Libya -- both its immediate military response and its rhetorical response in the days following the attack.
New emails were released this week, shedding more light on the way the White House attempted to frame the discussion about the attack and general Mideast turmoil. Republicans were quick to call the emails a "smoking gun" implicating the White House in a deliberate attempt to put politics ahead of the facts in the weeks before President Obama's re-election; Democrats and the White House, not surprisingly, countered that the president's critics are playing politics themselves.
"Scumbags...in the White House"
"Our Democratic friends, for the most part, have been in the tank over Benghazi," Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., said Thursday on Mike Gallagher's radio show, according to Mediaite. "Some guy said this about me yesterday on the left: The only reason I cared about this was because I have six tea party opponents. Well, if that's true, I'm the biggest scumbag in America."
"I don't think that's true; I know it's not true," he continued. "It would be almost impossible for Lindsey Graham -- given who I am and what I've been doing for the last 20 years -- not to care about those in harm's way, who get killed, and not go on to hold the administration accountable that lied about it."
"The scumbags are the people in the White House who lied about this," Graham said.
"Diversion, subterfuge, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi"
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters Thursday that the emails were simply a distraction from real issues like immigration reform, renewing long-term unemployment insurance or raising the minimum wage.
"Diversion, subterfuge, Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi," she said. "Why aren't we talking about something else."
"Dude, it was like two years ago"
President Obama's former National Security Council spokesman, Tommy Vietor, went on Fox News Thursday evening to answer anchor Bret Baier's questions about the emails and suggested that critics of the White House are focusing on mundane details regarding Benghazi.
"Did you also change 'attacks' to 'demonstrations' in the talking points?" Baier asked Vietor.
"Maybe. I don't really remember," Vietor responded.
"You don't remember?" Baier said incredulously.
"Dude, this was like two years ago," Vietor countered. "We're still talking about the most mundane process."
"Dude, it is the thing that everybody is talking about," Baier shot back.
"We're talking about the process of editing talking points," Vietor said. "That's what bureaucrats do all day long. Your producers edit scripts multiple times."
"We didn't run to the sound of the guns"
Rep. Jason Chaffetz, R-Utah, slammed the administration during a House Oversight Committee hearing on Thursday for failing to "run to the sound of guns" and instead "issuing press releases."
"We didn't run to the sound of the guns. They were issuing press releases. We had Americans dying. We had dead people. We had wounded people. And our military didn't try to engage in that fight," Chaffetz said.
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