Put down the talking points and the gotcha traps and just say what happened. For instance, when it comes to the attack on the Benghazi consulate in Libya, just tell us what you knew and when you knew it. It’s not necessary — not mention substantially untrue — to say that you instantly labeled it a terrorist attack. In the first place, the context of your remarks suggests otherwise — or else why continue for two weeks to deny it? Just turn to the camera and admit that for some time you didn’t have any idea of why the consulate was attacked and who did it.
Look at me, Barry. Admit ignorance. Admit confusion. State the obvious. No one knew at first what had happened. We’re grown-ups. We’d understand. We all know of the fog of war and that first reports are rarely right. We know about confusion — we have some in our own lives — and we would understand if you copped to being human. Just say, who the hell knew?
From the accounts of several news organizations, it’s now clears that initially there were conflicting reports. It did seem that the attack was a spontaneous reaction to that anti-Islam video seen (or not seen) on the Internet. And it also seemed that it was nothing of the sort. It was an attack by a radical militia. But was it planned or did the group just seize the opportunity? It’s still not really clear. It may never be. Some people are still arguing over Pearl Harbor.
You, too, Mitt. Just talk to us. Cut the macho bluster of how you’re going to duke it out with the ayatollah and concede that this is a tough problem and that sanctions — as unsatisfying as they may be — seem to be doing their job. Concede also that while you talk tough on Syria, your plan is about the same as President Obama’s — to my mind, no plan at all. As for Russia and China, stop trying to refight the Cold War. It’s over. We won. Look it over.