May 1, 2011 – Pete Souza: “Much has been made of this photograph that shows the President and Vice President and the national security team monitoring in real time the mission against Osama bin Laden.
Some more background on the photograph: The White House Situation Room is actually comprised of several different conference rooms. The majority of the time, the President convenes meetings in the large conference room with assigned seats. But to monitor this mission, the group moved into the much smaller conference room. The President chose to sit next to Brigadier General Marshall B. “Brad” Webb, Assistant Commanding General of Joint Special Operations Command, who was point man for the communications taking place.
TPM: …. we have two simultaneous crises washing over Washington from the Middle East. First, the US-Israel blow up …. Next, riots which escalated into full-scale attacks on US embassies in Cairo and Benghazi….
…. In the midst of this, the Romney campaign put out this statement …
“I’m outraged by the attacks on American diplomatic missions in Libya and Egypt and by the death of an American consulate worker in Benghazi. It’s disgraceful that the Obama administration’s first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.”
So Romney jumps to politicize a genuine crisis in which a Foreign Service Officer has been killed. And the attack itself is based on a falsehood …. The entire thing is based on a lie….
Steve Benen: …. The Romney campaign, which dismissed foreign policy as a “distraction” yesterday, now hopes to exploit the violence to advance Mitt Romney’s political ambitions.
…. I genuinely want to know what kind of person sees a foreign attack on Americans – an attack that has reportedly led to four U.S. deaths – and thinks it’s acceptable to lie about the violence to gain a few points in the polls. The campaign isn’t going Romney’s way right now, but is that an excuse to exploit the death of Americans with cheap rhetoric? In the face of violence abroad, this was Romney’s first instinct?
That it’s fundamentally dishonest hasn’t stopped Mitt Romney from repeating his central critique of Barack Obama’s foreign policy over and over – the idea that the president “went around the world and apologized for America.” So it shouldn’t be surprising that Romney’s response to the attacks on U.S. diplomatic installations in Egypt and Libya was rooted in the same caricature of Obama as apologizer-in-chief.
…. The foolishness of Romney’s reaction is glaring. Pretending that the statement from the U.S. embassy in Cairo was anything other than a completely understandable and reasonable attempt by its occupants to save their own lives borders on disgraceful. Romney’s implication that the statement was issued at the height of the attacks is also false; it was actually released earlier in the day, a preventive measure aimed at keeping the protests from turning violent.
Michael Tomasky: An American ambassador, Christopher Stevens, is dead, as are three other Libyan embassy staffers; public servants who answered the call for service to their country and the world in one of its most dangerous places, and who paid the ultimate price for it.
….. So what did Mitt Romney do? He politicized it of course. He issued a statement blasting the State Department for its statement condemning the film – a statement that was issued before the violence erupted. And he was cutesy about it. The statement was given to the press last night (i.e., still Sept. 11) around 10 pm, but the campaign asked the media to wait until 12:01 am to run with it, so that this partisan attack would technically happen on September 12.
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America’s commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya’s transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
Vice President Joe Biden visits the site where Flight 93 crashed, following a ceremony at the Flight 93 National Memorial in Shanksville, Pa., Sept. 11, 2012. Pictured with the Vice President, from left, are: Secretary of the Interior Ken Salazar; Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood; and Patrick White, President of the Families of Flight 93. (Official White House Photo by David Lienemann)
Today (all times ET):
12:30: VP Biden delivers remarks at a campaign event at Wright State University
1:15: President Obama departs the White House en route Joint Base Andrews
1:30: Departs Joint Base Andrews en route Las Vegas, Nev
6:00: Arrives in Las Vegas
8:25: Delivers remarks at a campaign event at the Cashman Center