President Obama said that the attack on the US Consulate in Libya that killed four Americans last month was “not optimal” in an interview, and is now being criticized by right-leaning media outlets over the remarks.
The president made the comment last night in a pre-recorded interview with Jon Stewart on The Daily Show, which we reported on here. Following up on criticism for the Obama Administration’s response to the attacks and the rhetorical melee that occurred over it during Tuesday’s debate, Stewart asked: “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.”
President Obama’s response: “Here is what I will say — if four Americans get killed, it is not optimal. And we are going to fix it.”
The president’s critics are hammering him over his remarks (most notably, Drudge), saying that the comments downplayed the significance of the attack in Libya and the perceived weakness in the administration’s response. Despite the president’s confession that “nobody is more interested in figuring this out than I am,” many critics have questioned his administration’s response to the attacks.
Libya was largely absent from the annual Al Smith Dinner in New York City Thursday night, seen as a sort-of unofficial “debate” between candidates seeking the presidency in which they (sometimes) face their greatest challenge – being funny. The dinner is an important stop for presidential hopefuls, with NPR saying that it gives candidates a chance to add “a laugh track to their campaigns.”
President Obama poked fun at his first debate performance: “Turns out millions of Americans focused in on the second debate who didn’t focus on the first debate,” he said, “I happen to be one of them,” while Romney took a jab at the media: “I’ve already seen early reports from tonight’s dinner. Headline: ‘Obama embraced by Catholics. Romney dines with rich people.’ “
Video from the 2012 Al Smith Dinner should be hosted on C-SPAN soon, but until then, you can watch the 2008 dinner here.
What do you think of President Obama’s “optimal” comments? Agree with him and his administration or not, I say we cut him a break. I smell no scandal here, and I, myself, find the response to Libya sketchy at best. Sound off!