Speaking about the horrific and deadly terrorist attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya on CNN Thursday, Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter told host Brooke Baldwin that the only reason Benghazi is a political issue is "because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan."
(Update: Cutter Defends Her Remarks on Fox News)
After Baldwin played a video montage of the all the misleading statements made by the Obama administration about the Benghazi attack, in which officials, including President Obama, repeatedly blamed the anti-Muslim YouTube video, Cutter blamed the GOP presidential nominee and his running mate for making it a "political topic."
"The entire reason that this has become the political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It's a big part of their stump speech," Cutter said. "And it's reckless and irresponsible."
"But Stephanie, this is national security," the host replied.
"It is absolutely national security," Cutter confirmed.
To be sure, the act of terrorism is also a "political topic" for the families of the four Americans that died in the attack as well as millions of Americans who are still grieving the loss of Ambassador Chris Stevens, Sean Smith, a foreign service information management office, and former Navy SEALs Glen Doherty and Tyrone Woods.
Sean Smith's mother went on CNN on Wednesday and accused the Obama administration of telling her "outright lies" about the attack and said the White House was playing politics.
Watch the clip of Cutter's remarks below:
Cutter didn't back down following her seemingly controversial remarks. In fact, she doubled down on Twitter, posting the following message on her official account:
.@buzzfeedandrew Romney has politicized Libya w/no plans of his own. POTUS' priorities are getting facts & bringing terrorists to justice.— Stephanie Cutter (@stefcutter) October 11, 2012
The Obama campaign immediately defended Cutter's statement, emailing a second comment from Cutter to BuzzFeed:
From the time of the attack in Libya, Mitt Romney has stopped at nothing to politicize these events. While Mitt Romney, Congressman Ryan, and their Republican allies in Congress have turned a national tragedy into a political circus, the President has been focused on getting the facts, finding the terrorists responsible, and bringing them to justice. Our nation’s security and how we handle the transitions in the Middle East and North Africa are critical issues in this campaign, and just 26 days before an election, the American people deserve real ideas and specifics from Mitt Romney.
Meanwhile, the backlash on Twitter was immediate. Cutter's remarks resulted in the trending hashtag #CuttersPerspective. Here are some of the best tweets:
#CuttersPerspective If people would stop talking about the economy it would be fine.— Jim Hunt (@JimEddieHunt) October 11, 2012
#CuttersPerspective Joe Biden would be a lot more smarter if there wasn't no news shows on the TV set.— Jim Hunt (@JimEddieHunt) October 11, 2012
Stephanie Cutter, on Pearl Harbor: "Well, it's only an issue because of Thomas Dewey." #CuttersPerspective— Sonny Bunch (@SonnyBunch) October 11, 2012
Stephanie Cutter on Watergate: "This is only an issue because that Watergate security guard called the police." #CuttersPerspective— Brad Dayspring (@BDayspring) October 11, 2012
"The fact is the Lewisnky affair is only a big deal because Linda Tripp can't keep a secret." #Cuttersperspective— Amanda Carey (@AmandaCarey1) October 11, 2012
Reince Priebus, chairman of the Republican National Convention, called the statement "outrageous":
Outrageous –Obama Deputy Campaign Manager says Libya only issue bc of Romney, not bc of terrorist attack youtu.be/D94cIH5gcfI— Reince Priebus (@Reince) October 11, 2012
UPDATE: Shortly after Cutter's comments on the terrorist attack in Libya, Romney Campaign National Press Secretary Andrea Saul, released the following statement:
“President Obama’s campaign today said that Libya is only an issue because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. They’re wrong. The reason it is an issue is because, for the first time since 1979, an American ambassador was assassinated and President Obama’s foreign policy strategy of ‘leading from behind’ is failing. This administration has continually misled the American public about what happened in Benghazi and, rather than be truthful about the sequence of events, has instead skirted responsibility and dodged questions. The American people deserve straight answers about this tragic event and a president who can provide leadership, not excuses.”
This story has been updated with additional information.
Front page image from AP.