Romney Steps Up Criticism Over Libya Attack

White House 'doubling down on denial,' he says

By John Johnson,  Newser Staff

Posted Oct 13, 2012 12:06 PM CDT

(Newser) – Prepare to hear much more about the Benghazi consulate attack on the campaign trail. Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan separately hammered the White House response yesterday as "Republicans sense their first real opening on national security," writes the Washington Post. The criticism has intensified since the vice-presidential debate, in which Joe Biden said the White House initially thought the attack stemmed from a spontaneous protest "because that's exactly what we were told." He also said the White House wasn't informed about additional requests for security. Romney accused the Obama administration of "doubling down on denial" and said Biden "directly contradicted the testimony of State Department officials."

Ryan also kept the subject in play, reports Politico. "First they blame a YouTube video and a nonexistent riot, then when the country is getting upset about it, they blame Romney-Ryan for getting people upset about it.” Both Jay Carney and Hillary Clinton yesterday again rejected the criticism. “There is nobody in the administration motivated by anything other than trying to understand what happened,” said Clinton. “We do not have all the answers. No one in this administration has ever claimed otherwise." The New York Times today reports that, prior to the consulate attack, security officers in Libya warned superiors at the State Department "in a stream of diplomatic cables" of a worsening threat from extremists. But the warnings focused on the need for better security at the embassy in Tripoli, not the consulate in Benghazi. The requests to extend the tours of security guards at the embassy were denied.

Mitt Romney campaigns in Lancaster, Ohio, in this file photo.
Mitt Romney campaigns in Lancaster, Ohio, in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File)
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