Obama ahead in battle for press endorsements
The Denver Post said it takes a leap of faith to vote for either candidate, because they have not explained where they would take the country. The Post nonetheless endorsed Obama, saying: “It would be a stretch to say we are bullish on the entirety of his first term. There have been notable accomplishments: rescuing the nation’s auto industry, passing comprehensive (though contentious) healthcare reform, and delivering justice to Osama bin Laden. But those accomplishments are juxtaposed against a sluggish economy and less impressive performances in tackling the federal debt and deficits, reducing unemployment and bolstering the housing market.”
Two newspapers, the Wall Street Journal and the New York Times, have broken new ground in the saga of the September 11th attack on the US consulate in Benghazi, which was expected to figure prominently in last night’s debate.
Both papers quoted reports and White House briefing papers which indicate that the CIA did not change its assessment that the attack was carried out by a “flash mob” responding to a video that insulted the prophet Muhammad until September 22nd.
This means that UN ambassador Susan Rice, Obama and other officials were truthful in public statements, based on what they were told by intelligence agencies.
The Romney campaign has accused the administration of distorting events rather than discredit the belief that Obama has made substantial gains in the fight against al-Qaeda.
A spokesman for the director of national intelligence evoked a “deliberate and organised terrorist attack” on September 28th, but intelligence officials say it takes a great deal of time to collect and sift evidence and have since reverted to the earlier explanation of an “opportunistic” attack mounted when news of the assault on the embassy in Cairo reached Benghazi.
Republicans nonetheless cling to their condemnation. “This was not a spontaneous riot. There never was a mob,” said senator Lindsey Graham. “It was a seven-hour planned attack, pre-planned.”
On television talkshows, Democrats have taken to reminding Republicans that the greatest intelligence blunder, with far worse consequences, occurred under George W Bush’s presidency, when false reports of Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction led the US to invade Iraq.