HEMPSTEAD, New York — Massachusetts Sen. John Kerry slammed Republicans for turning last month's terrorist attack in Benghazi into a political issue, calling it a "disgrace," and contrasting the response to the deaths of four Americans there to the national response to the attacks on September 11, 2001.
"My view is that the people of the United States understand that when there is a tragedy that involves the loss of life in an embassy...you bond together as a country, and you don't make it a political football," he told reporters Tuesday night. "I don't remember a political football when 3,000 people died about 40 miles away from here and you had 9/11. There was no political football. We came together as a country. And I think it's disgraceful to make this a political issue."
Kerry said that both Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have taken responsibility for what happened.
"That should be enough for people, and it's a disgrace to come out and make that a political issue," he said. "A disgrace."
The Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee attacked congressional Republicans for holding a hearing on the attack in an "out-of-Congress session" to "beat up" on civil servants.
"I remember those hearings after 9/11, do you? I don't remember that, because it didn't take place," he told reporters before the second presidential debate. "I think people need to gather their wits about them and act in a mature and thoughtful way about this."
"The president called it an act of terror immediately. Everyone understands what happened. There's no secret here. "
Kerry, whose desire to serve as Secretary of State after Clinton is an open secret, said he found nothing wrong with her accepting responsibility for what happened last night.
"She's accepting responsibility as the Secretary of State," Kerry said, "and I'm confident the President accepts responsibility — I know he does — as President of the United States."