BOCA RATON, FL - SEPTEMBER 28: DNC chairwoman Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) speaks before the arrival of U.S. Vice President Joe Biden during a campaign event at the Century Village Clubhouse on September 28, 2012 in Boca Raton, Florida. Biden continues to campaign across the country before the general election.Credit: Getty Images
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"It is not OK for you to be saying that the administration was putting out completely false statements."
Appearing as a guest on Piers Morgan's CNN show, DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz did her best to defend the Obama administration's handling of the deadly 9/11 terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi. She also tried to explain away the trove of misinformation that was circulated by the White House in the days following the attack that left U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans dead.
Morgan began by pointing out the obvious.
"It was very clumsily handled," he said about the response to the Libya assault. "Was it scandalously handled? Should heads roll?"
After rolling her eyes and shaking her head, Schultz said that President Obama knew Ambassador Stevens personally, which had nothing to do with Morgan's question whatsoever.
She continued: "What we need to do when the United States has been attacked, when Americans have been killed while serving our country; we don't need to have Mitt Romney and the Republicans in Congress taking their first instinct, being to take cheap political shots--"
"Let me stop you there," Morgan interrupted. "Because it's not about Mitt Romney or what he did…what's equally inappropriate though is the suggestion that Ambassador Rice and others made public statements which were deliberately misleading in the sense of blaming this video when in fact it has to be known after four or five days that it was much more likely to have been a terrorist attack that had been plan."
U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice, White House Press Secretary Jay Carney and other officials made public statements in the days after the attack, saying it was the result of an anti-Muslim video, not terrorism.
Schultz was literally shocked that Morgan would make such an accusation.
"I can't even believe that you would suggest that Ambassador Rice would make deliberately misleading statements," she said.
Schultz argued that things were "unclear" following the attack and it was important to conduct a thorough investigation before making a determination. Remember, Morgan asked her if the Obama administration was irresponsible for attributing the attack to the anti-Muslim YouTube video before the facts were known.
Altering his question slightly, Morgan asked where Schultz would admit that Ambassador Rice was simply wrong in her statement.
Schultz refused to provide simple yes or no answer and instead justified the Obama administration's handling of the incident, saying they were working on the best information they had at the time.
She then attempted to accuse Republicans of using the attack as a "political opportunity" yet again. She called what the GOP is doing "un-American." Morgan was forced to interrupt her.
"You are flogging the wrong dead horse," he interjected. "It isn’t about what Mitt Romney or Republicans did. The... really important horse that should be flogged is the behavior and the statements of those who were in positions of responsibility and, we would assume, knowledge, and it’s pretty un-American, pretty un-American, to put out completely false statements before you know the facts, isn’t it?”
"It is not OK for you to be saying that the administration was putting out completely false statements," Schultz said, a look of disbelief on her face.
Morgan rebutted her by saying the information that the White House released turned out to be completely wrong.
"That doesn't mean it's false," Schultz replied.
"What?" Morgan shot back, flabbergasted.
"That doesn't mean it's deliberate," she clarified.
Watch the entire interaction via CNN/Mediaite below:
Front page photo by Getty Images.
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