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On Benghazi, Four Pinocchios for the President


The Washington Post’s Glenn Kessler has examined in detail the president’s claim that “he called Benghazi an ‘act of terrorism’” and found it wanting. Kessler’s conclusion:

During the campaign, the president could just get away with claiming he said “act of terror,” since he did use those words — though not in the way he often claimed. It seemed like a bit of after-the-fact spin, but those were his actual words — to the surprise of Mitt Romney in the debate.

But the president’s claim that he said “act of terrorism” is taking revisionist history too far, given that he repeatedly refused to commit to that phrase when asked directly by reporters in the weeks after the attack. He appears to have gone out of his way to avoid saying it was a terrorist attack, so he has little standing to make that claim now.

Indeed, the initial unedited talking points did not call it an act of terrorism. Instead of pretending the right words were uttered, it would be far better to acknowledge that he was echoing what the intelligence community believed at the time–and that the administration’s phrasing could have been clearer and more forthright from the start.

Four Pinocchios

Nonetheless, the White House has not yet given up on this line. This claim was repeated to an astonished press corp by White House press secretary Jay Carney as recently as last Friday. My piece on the homepage today deals with Carney’s disastrous performance on that day.