Aide: Obama serious on diplomat security

Oct. 14, 2012 at 1:12 PM
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WASHINGTON, Oct. 14 (UPI) -- A senior Obama adviser said there were legitimate security concerns within the politically charged furor over the attack on the U.S. consulate in Libya.

David Axelrod said on "Fox News Sunday" President Obama was focused on investigating the deadly attack and improving security for U.S. diplomats around the world and accused Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney of using the incident to scold the president.

"Obviously, there is a serious issue here," Axelrod said. "It is an essential matter that we get to the bottom of what happened, and that we bring the terrorists to justice. This president is totally committed to that."

Axelrod reiterated the administration's stance that concerns about consulate security were handled within the State Department and did not pass through the White House.

Axelrod also contended that Romney's quick reaction to the attack, which left four Americans dead, was part of a political strategy. He predicted the Republicans would likely keep the controversy alive through Election Day.

"We're in the last weeks of the campaign and, of course, Gov. Romney is going to be talking about the issue," Axelrod said.

Ed Gillespie, a senior Romney adviser, countered that a "constantly shifting story from this administration" made it necessary for Romney and congressional Republicans to lean on the White House for answers.

"First of all, in order to ensure we make the changes necessary to protect ambassadors and our embassies and consulates in the right way going forward, we need to know what went wrong here, in the days leading up to, and months leading up to the attacks on Benghazi," Gillespie said.

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