President Obama’s campaign spokeswoman said that he “takes responsibility” for the security of U.S. diplomats, less than a day after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took the blame.
“President Obama takes responsibility for the safety and security of all diplomats serving overseas,” said Obama campaign spokeswoman Jen Psaki on Fox News today. “Secretary Clinton of course has a great amount of responsibility as Secretary of State.”
Psaki denied that Clinton’s remarks were a “coordinated roll-out” to shelter Obama ahead of the debate, as Fox’s Shepard Smith suggested.
“I take responsibility,” Clinton told CNN during a trip to Peru yesterday. “The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.”
Three Republican senators replied by arguing that “the buck stops” with Obama. “If the President was truly not aware of this rising threat level in Benghazi, then we have lost confidence in his national security team, whose responsibility it is to keep the President informed,” said Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., Sen. Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., and Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., in a joint statement.
“But if the President was aware of these earlier attacks in Benghazi prior to the events of September 11, 2012, then he bears full responsibility for any security failures that occurred,” they continued.