Paul Ryan’s Ridiculous Talking Points on Libya
The Obama administration is facing justified scrutiny over its handling of the terrorist attack in Libya that killed four Americans. But GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan—seeking to exploit the incident and paint the administration as weak—has run with a patently ridiculous explanation for why the incident occurred, and has failed to articulate a plausible explanation for how it might have been prevented.
At Thursday night’s VP debate, moderator Martha Raddatz opened with a question on Libya, and here was Ryan’s response:
When you take a look at what has happened just in the last few weeks, they sent the U.N. ambassador out to say that this was because of a protest and a YouTube video. It took the president two weeks to acknowledge that this was a terrorist attack. He went to the U.N. and in his speech at the UN he said six times—he talked about the YouTube video. Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is, a terrorist attack. Our ambassador in Paris has a Marine detachment guarding him. Shouldn’t we have a Marine detachment guarding our ambassador in Benghazi, a place where we knew that there was an Al Qaida cell with arms? This is becoming more troubling by the day. They first blamed the YouTube video. Now they’re trying to blame the Romney-Ryan ticket for making this an issue.
For starters, Ryan’s allegation that it took two weeks for Obama to acknowledge a terrorist attack is plain wrong: The president referred to the attack as an “act of terror” the day after it occurred. Second, while it’s true that the administration wrongly insisted at the outset that the attack sprang from protests over an anti-Islam film on YouTube, there were conflicting strains of intelligence—one from the CIA that said there was a protest, and one from the State Department that said there wasn’t—that help explain the administration’s remarks in the early going.