…of becoming a bloody bore on the topic of Crowley, Obama, the debate, and Benghazi—even more than I may have already done—please bear with me for one more post.
When I took another look at the text of Obama’s Rose Garden speech after Benghazi (I do this tedious stuff so you don’t have to), I noticed the number of times Obama characterized the Benghazi violence in some way. I’ve highlighted every one of them in bold:
THE PRESIDENT: Good morning. Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation. Often, they are away from their families. Sometimes, they brave great danger.
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We’re working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I’ve also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.
Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya. Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.
It’s especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi. With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya. When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.
Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on. I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.
We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.
Thank you. May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.
You can see that in his speech Obama characterizes the Benghazi violence and/or its perpetrators ten separate times, in an address that is only about 800 words long in its entirety. Each time, he might have chosen to have said “terrorist attacks” or “terrorists” or “terrorism,” but each time he chose not to do so. Instead, he used the words “attack” or “attackers” seven times, the word “act” twice, and the word “violence” once. He’s not shy about employing adjectives to modify those words, either: he calls them “senseless,” “brutal,” “terrible,”outrageous,” and “shocking.”
Note, however, that the word “terrorist” is never used as an adjective to modify Obama’s descriptions of what happened in Benghazi, nor is it used as a noun to describe the perpetrators. There is no question that the omission was intentional on Obama’s part, because if Obama had wanted to call it a terrorist attack it would have been natural to actually, like, you know, do so.
The only mention of terrorist acts by Obama comes, as I wrote yesterday, in his generic statement of resolve after mentioning both the 9/11 attacks and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (9/11 being an unequivocal act of terrorism, and both wars being part of what used to be called the “War on Terror”).
Obama’s Rose Garden speech was carefully written to make sure the President sounded as though he may have been hinting at quite a few things that he’s not really saying, in order to keep all his options open later.
Speaking of options—watch the tape of the moment in the debate when Obama makes the claim. The words I’m talking about occur right at the beginning where Obama says [emphasis mine], “The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we were going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror, and I also said that we were going to hunt down those who committed this crime.”
To me it appears that Obama feels that he is putting down some extremely tempting bait for Romney, hoping his opponent will bite.
He has rehearsed this approach in preparation for a Libya/Benghazi question; he believes it to be his trump card, and he knows Crowley will cover for him—or, if she fails to do so, that the MSM will do it for her.
It’s also possible that Obama (or his surrogates) have worked this out ahead of time with Crowley. I don’t know; it’s certainly possible, because her waving those papers around when asked to look at the transcript of the speech (are they actually a transcript? Or something else?) is rather odd. Whichever it is, pre-arranged or no, Obama seems especially delighted at what Crowley says, asking her to repeat it and setting up a nice round of forbidden applause (led by Michelle–preplanned as well?) from the audience. Gotcha!
Note also Obama’s affect when Romney questions him as to whether he really means to assert that he called it an act of terror the day after the attack. The camera zooms in on Obama as the president says to Romney “Please proceed, Governor,” and then cuts away just after the fleeting ghost of a faint smile crosses Obama’s face (mostly in his eyes; it occurs at about 1:22). It is at that point that Obama summarily orders Crowley to “check the transcript” (no “please” for Obama), and she immediately answers that Obama did say it that way. Not only do we know that assertion is false, but she didn’t even seem to have time to check any transcript between Obama’s request and her answer.
Crowley attempts to explain it all here:
No one told [Crowley] that Obama had, in fact, uttered the word “terror” the day after the Benghazi attack, and no one had to. “I’d heard it in the Rose Garden,” she said, “I’d seen it before. I’d heard this conversation before.”