President Barack Obama talked about Libya on The Daily Show in an episode airing tonight and spoke with Jon Stewart about the media controversy surrounding the initial reporting on the September 11 attack in Benghazi that killed four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens.
At Tuesday’s debate, Obama and Romney sparred over Libya after Romney tried to claim that Obama had not referred to the attack as an “act of terror” until 14 days after it occurred. At President Obama’s request, moderator Candy Crowley interjected with transcript proof that Obama had indeed referred to “acts of terror” in a White House Rose Garden speech the day after the attack.
The Libya moment and Crowley’s interjection became a lightning rod of crosstalk both during and following the moment, with conservative media angry that Crowley had live fact checked the comment during and not after the debate. But on TDS, Obama was able to elaborate on the issue, most notably when Stewart asked about comments made by UN ambassador Susan Rice in the days following the attack. Obama replied:
“John, the truth is that information comes in, folks put it out throughout the process, people say it is still incomplete … What I was always clear about was we are going to do an investigation and figure out what happened.”
Stewart asked what may have caused “confusion” after the attack, to which Obama replied:
“Well, we weren’t confused about the fact that four Americans had been killed, I wasn’t confused about the fact that we needed to ramp up diplomatic security around the world right after it happened, I wasn’t confused about the fact that we had to investigate exactly what happened so it gets fixed and I wasn’t confused about the fact that we were going to hunt down whoever did it and bring them to justice.”
Stewart said :
“I would say and even you would admit it was not the optimal response – at least to the American people as far as all of us being on the same page.”
To which Obama replied:
“Here is what I will say, if four Americans get killed it is not optimal,” the president responded. “And we are going to fix it, all of it. And what happens during the course of a presidency, you know the government is a big operation at any given time, something screws up and you make sure you find out what’s broken and you fix it … And you know whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency, one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is America’s security comes first and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, national security and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.”
Obama also said that events like the tragic strike in Benghazi are ones that often take time to investigate, and he explained:
“When a tragic event like this happens on the other side of the world immediately a whole bunch of intelligence starts coming in and you try to piece together exactly what happens. And what have always tried to do is just get all the facts figure out what went wrong and make sure it doesn’t happen again and we’re still in that process now. But every piece of information that we got as we got it we laid it out for the American people, and the picture eventually gets fully filled in and we know how to prevent it in the future.”
Will you be tuning in to watch President Obama discuss Benghazi with Jon Stewart on tonight’s Daily Show?