John McCain today took the Benghazi consulate attack that killed Chris Stevens and laid the blame squarely at the door of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave., blasting the Obama administration's policy of diplomatic "disengagement" as ultimately responsible, reports Politico. "Prior to 9/11, we had a policy of containment. Then after 9/11, it was a confrontation with the terrorists and al-Qaeda. Now it's disengagement," he said. "We're leaving Iraq. We're leaving Afghanistan." Extremists in the region now perceive America as weak, and they executed "an act of terror" to take advantage. "This wasn't a video that caused this," he said. Elsewhere around the Sunday spectrum, as per Politico:
- Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich., on the attack: "The countries of the Middle East believe that there is a disengagement policy by the United States and that lack of leadership there—or at least clarity on what our position is—is causing problems. If we all decide to rally around the video as the problem, we are going to make a serious mistake."
- Susan Rice on the Mideast violence: "We've seen in the past outrage, and unfortunately violent outrage, which is condemnable and never justified. It may indeed occur in other circumstances. But there's no predicting exactly what the trajectory of this is. Obviously the last several days have been somewhat better, but we are very vigilant."
- McCain backs Mitt Romney's embassy criticism: "We shouldn't be apologizing for freedom of speech. That's one of the fundamentals of democracy. So, the lack of symmetry on the part of the media in this campaign on this issue and on Medicare and others, it's just saddening to me."
- Nancy Pelosi on Dems' chances of taking back the House: "There are three important issues in this campaign. And in alphabetical order, they are Medicare, Medicare, Medicare. When Governor Romney chose Ryan, that was the pivotal day. I would have said to you then we were dead even. Well, the momentum is very much with us, the Medicare issue in this campaign. We have a very excellent chance to take back the House."