Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Third Debate--Benghazi 

A lot has been said about how Romney didn't press Obama about the Benghazi debacle in last night's debate. As much as I would have liked to see Obama pressed to explain in detail what happened, and why the message was all about a YouTube video that nobody had heard of before that day, I have some ideas about why Romney didn't pursue it.

First, it was probably the most obvious topic for the third and final debate on foreign affairs and America's place in the world. It was, after all, the first question posed by Bob Schieffer. I am absolutely sure that Obama and his handlers anticipated a tough question from the moderator and even tougher comments from Romney, and had prepared a Really Good Response to the question.

Second, given the trap that Obama laid for Romney on the "terrorist attack" statement that he (didn't) make on 12 September, Romney probably anticipated that Obama would be loaded for bear on the issue and would no doubt try to spring another such trap. (He did, on the GM bankruptcy issue, but fumbled badly--Obama provided a great example of what happens when you try to be a smart-ass without being smart.)

But most importantly, with two weeks to go in the campaign and facts still coming out about Benghazi, I suspect that Romney didn't want to give Obama the opportunity to give an explanation of what happened in a situation that didn't lend itself to follow-up questions by knowledgeable questioners, and which would permit Obama to deflect all future questions with "I've already addressed that--it's old news, let's move on." I think Romney wanted to leave Benghazi as an open wound to fester until Election Day. The strategy would have the added benefit of having others not standing for election to be the tough interrogators, and Romney looking "presidential". The MSM is in the tank for Obama, but I suspect in the end it's more important to them to be seen as not supporting a loser than it is to be loyal to their idol to the bitter end.

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