Despite the enthusiastic sweep of right-wing extremists from our halls of power this past election season (Todd Akin, Robert Mourdock, Allen West…though now in recount, Romney/Ryan, etc.), one infamous figure did scuttle through the gauntlet and, clearly missing the spotlight, is back to her wicked ways.
Hello, Michele Bachmann.
While wiser minds are weighing facts, listening to witness statements and formulating opinions based on actual testimony, their own experience in the field, and, that element so rarely recognized in modern political culture, logic, Miz Bachmann has instead decided to take her familiar position of rejecting wisdom to declare the President a liar:
“…why did the White House consistently embrace the false narrative that the deadly attacks were a spontaneous event motivated by an anti-Islamic video?” [Emphasis added. Her full statement can be read here.]
Similar to a technique where, despite the truth – or with the truth not fully known – one repeatedly asserts a lie (or their chosen interpretation of the “truth”), with the hope that repetition alone will make it fact (a familiar tool of the GOP; see WMD and war), Bachmann is now jumping on the GOP bandwagon to sing her version of “Obama is lying about Benghazi.”
While clearly the facts of Benghazi are muddled by both the impact of “fog of war” at the time of the event, as well as the limited information passed to the White House by those involved with developing intelligence in real time, the various partisan figures are, nonetheless, solidifying their predictable positions.
Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have appeared under every set of press conference lights they can find to denigrate Ambassador Susan Rice (whose “sin” was to speak to the early intelligence reports given her), denounce the President for “intentionally lying,” and dismiss any parallels to Condoleeza Rice and others who trumpeted false intel about WMD leading up to the Iraq war.
Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), with veins a’bulging and the tone of screeching headmaster, accused the Administration of “purposefully lying” to the American public:
At the Las Vegas Informer, writer Brandon Williams reports:
“What is clear is that this administration, including the president himself, has intentionally misinformed, read that ‘lied,’ to the American people in the aftermath of this tragedy,” Rohrabacher stated. ”Now President Obama has the gall to float the name [U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice] as possibly secretary of state, the name of the person who is the actual vehicle used to misinform the American people during this crisis.” [...]
Yesterday Rohrabacher went after the president. His voice gradually rose, his tone steadily became very stereotypical of a Republican man in his sixties, and finally the passionate belief that Obama intentionally lied came to a head.
“We have four of our personnel dead, and it is not a McCarthy-era tactic to demand accountability and to demand that American people are not misinformed about it to the point that they don’t know what the threat is,” said Rohrabacher.
At issue is when intelligence regarding who committed the Benghazi attack – terrorists versus spontaneous rioters – was known. The early CIA talking points asserted the latter, only later clarifying the truth. The White House was given the former, which is what Ambassador Rice disseminated. The Obama Administration continues to deny making any substantive changes to those original CIA talking points.
“We were provided with points by the intelligence community that represented their assessment,” deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes said Saturday aboard Air Force One taking President Obama to the East Asia Summit. “The only edit made by the White House was the factual edit about how to refer to the facility.” (The Christian Science Monitor)
Even the Hearing’s star witness, the beleaguered and embattled General David Petraeus, testified under oath that, despite the fact that the original CIA draft talking points included reference to specific terrorist groups, that wording was changed to “extremists” prior to White House delivery:
The retired four-star general addressed the House and Senate intelligence committees as questions continue to persist over what the Obama administration knew in the immediate aftermath of the Sept. 11 attacks and why their public description did not match intelligence agencies’ assessments. Lawmakers said Petraeus testified that the CIA’s draft talking points written in response to the assault on the diplomat post in Benghazi that killed four Americans referred to it as a terrorist attack. But Petraeus told the lawmakers that reference was removed from the final version, although he wasn’t sure which federal agency took out the reference. [Emphasis added.]
Democrats said Petraeus made it clear the change was not made for political reasons during President Barack Obama’s re-election campaign. “The general was adamant there was no politicization of the process, no White House interference or political agenda,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, D-Calif. “He completely debunked that idea.”
Senator Dianne Feinstein, chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, stated this morning on “Meet the Press” that the White House has asked her to investigate why the CIA early intelligence was worded to exclude their early conclusion that terrorists were involved. The Washington Post reports:
CIA officials, including former Director David Petraeus, told Congress last week they had determined quickly that al-Qaeda was involved but wanted to keep that information classified.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein tells NBC’s “Meet the Press” that she doesn’t believe the White House tried to cover up the terrorism link for political reasons. But she says she isn’t sure why the attack was described as it was.
It appears what is most clear in this not-completely-clear story, is that questions remain, particularly why the wording of CIA talking points was initially changed, which led to the verbiage used by Ambassador Susan Rice directly after to the attack, which has now led to the accusations that the President intentionally lied, as well as the very public besmirching of Ambassador Rice. The attacks on Rice, in fact, have so infuriated many in the Beltway that several Congresswomen made a stand in Rice’s defense with a press conference on November 17th, decrying the smearing of her good character. The names of those Congresswomen can be found here at Daily Kos.
But not Michele Bachmann; you won’t find her name there. Not when she’s sniffed out a chance to attack the President and get her own face in the news at the same time. It’s right in her wheelhouse to make hay with that opportunity, truth be damned.
And speaking of truth-mangling and outrageous claims that are proven false, let’s do remember that Bachmann is the same person who said:
“I will tell you that I had a mother last night come up to me here in Tampa, Florida, after the debate. She told me that her little daughter took that vaccine, that injection, and she suffered from mental retardation thereafter.” –Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN), on the HPV vaccine, Fox News interview, Sept. 12, 2011.
For more Dumb Michele Bachmann Quotes, click here.