The Sunday news talk shows were all over the Benghazi story this past weekend.
Big surprise, huh?
I didn’t catch all of them, but I did see what I think was one of the better debates on the subject. It occurred on ABC’s “This Week” segment and featured some fiery partisans on both sides arguing their respective cases over what the Obama administration knew about the September 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
It’s pretty good stuff.
Former GOP U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum and radio talk-show host Laura Ingraham argued for the right wing’s version of the story, which is that the White House and/or the State Department knew in advance that the attack on the compound was a terrorist deed and did little or nothing to protect the people inside. Former Obama campaign guru and senior policy wonk David Plouffe and former Obama administration adviser Van Jones argued the opposite view, which is that the administration erred in issuing its initial talking points, but didn’t conspire to keep the truth from the public.
ABC News correspondent Cokie Roberts also was present and while she tended to favor the Plouffe-Jones view, she sought to bring some balance to the discussion.
The U.S. House of Representatives is going to convene a special committee to determine whether the administration deceived the public on purpose. It’ll be led by a tea party guy, Rep. Trey Gowdy, who no doubt has an agenda of his own. He said something over the weekend about having “evidence” of a cover-up. Congressional Democrats are weighing the possibility of sitting this one out, letting Republicans make fools of themselves.
The debate Sunday was lively and often angry — and it provided an apt metaphor for the tone of debate in Washington regarding the Benghazi attack. Republicans want to keep hammering at an old story. Democrats want to refocus on some other things, such as, oh, the improving economy. Neither side is willing to give the other side any leeway.
The talkers on “This Week” followed that script to the letter.