President Obama accused Mitt Romney of shooting first and asking questions later when responding to violence unfolding in the Middle East. But a quick review of the timeline, and the White House’s “evolving” explanation for the attacks on the Benghazi consulate are beginning to make it clear that Obama’s the one who’s guilty of speaking too soon.
“Let’s be clear, these protests were in reaction to a video that had spread to the region,” White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Sept. 14.
Secretary Clinton, during the transfer of remains ceremony the same day: “We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over n awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.”
The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations continued this spurious and completely uninformed messaging: ”Based on the best information we have to date … it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video.”
Now, Defense Secretary Leon Panetta says that the 9/11 attack was not only carried out by terrorists, but it was also pre-meditated. So much for that “spontaneous reaction to a YouTube video.”
What Obama attacked Romney for — speaking before the facts were known — is precisely what the administration wound up doing for the subsequent two weeks.