Romney: Benghazi Didn’t Decide The Election
Mitt Romney doesn’t think that the attack in Benghazi played a large role in deciding the 2012 election:
The Obama administration’s talking points on the terror attack in Benghazi had no bearing on Mitt Romney’s defeat last year, the former Republican presidential nominee told Jay Leno.
The issue of the administration’s talking points has been a key focus of Republican criticism over the handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya last September that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans.
The administration initially held that the attack was a result of a local protest over an anti-Muslim Internet video that spun violently out of control. Officials later assessed that it was a terror attack coordinated by terrorists with ties to al Qaeda.
Republicans have blasted the administration for this change in narrative, accusing top officials of initially misleading the public in an attempt to protect Obama’s foreign policy record of protecting American interests abroad.
The attacks occurred less than two months before Obama and Romney faced off at the polls. And less than one month later, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-Calif.) held a rare hearing while Congress was in recess that Democrats contended was pure politics at play.
But on Friday, Leno asked Romney whether he believes he might have beaten Obama in the November election if the initial narrative from the administration on the motive behind the attacks had been attributed to terrorism instead of a protest.
“I don’t think it would have changed the election,” said Romney.
In the end, Romney is of course correct. There simply isn’t any evidence that foreign policy was playing that much of a role in the election to begin with, and Benghazi itself was so confusing at the time that it seems unlikely that this post-incident we’re having over talking points would have mattered to anyone other than hardline partisans and the inside-the-Beltway crowd. And, yet, we’re likely to keep talking about it for months.