A top campaign aide to President Barack Obama blamed the ongoing furor over the Administration's handling of the attack last month on the American consultate in Benghazi on Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan.
"The entire reason that this has become the political topic it is is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan — it's a big part of their stump speech, and it's reckless and irresponsible," she said.
Cutter's comments sparked an immediate online furor because of the broad criticism, on Capitol Hill and in the press, of both the State Department's handling of security in Benghazi, where Ambassador Chris Stevens was killed, before the September 11 attack; and the Obama Administration's early assertions that the attack was linked to an anti-Muslim video, which does not appear to have been the case.
“President Obama’s campaign today said that Libya is only an issue because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They’re wrong. The reason it is an issue is because, for the first time since 1979, an American ambassador was assassinated and President Obama’s foreign policy strategy of ‘leading from behind’ is failing," Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul said in a statement. "This administration has continually misled the American public about what happened in Benghazi and, rather than be truthful about the sequence of events, has instead skirted responsibility and dodged questions. The American people deserve straight answers about this tragic event and a president who can provide leadership, not excuses.”
A Republican National Committee spokesman, Tim Miller, tweeted that Cutter's line belonged "in the annals of people believing their own BS."
But the Obama campaign immediately defended, and elaborated on, Cutter's remark, emailing BuzzFeed a second comment from Cutter:
From the time of the attack in Libya, Mitt Romney has stopped at nothing to politicize these events. While Mitt Romney, Congressman Ryan, and their Republican allies in Congress have turned a national tragedy into a political circus, the President has been focused on getting the facts, finding the terrorists responsible, and bringing them to justice. Our nation’s security and how we handle the transitions in the Middle East and North Africa are critical issues in this campaign, and just 26 days before an election, the American people deserve real ideas and specifics from Mitt Romney.
Cutter comments via Twitter
A longer version of the clip
Andrew Kaczynski is a political reporter for BuzzFeed News and is based in New York.
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