Reporter: Blame Benghazi for Obama's Debate Fail
Prez was preoccupied, says Michael Hastings
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jan 16, 2013 2:10 PM CST
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(Newser) – Michael Hastings, the Rolling Stone reporter best known for his article that led to Gen. Stanley McChrystal's resignation, says he knows why President Obama performed so poorly in his first debate against Mitt Romney: Benghazi. Hastings, who has been researching for a book on the 2012 election, tells the Huffington Post that Obama was distracted by duties related to Benghazi while he was supposed to be preparing for the debate:

  • "This has never been reported before, but it’s in the book: One of the president’s debate prep sessions, when he was supposed to be preparing for this, was the day that the bodies of the four victims in Benghazi came back to Andrews Air Force Base. So, he literally gave a speech about Benghazi, met the families of these victims from like 1 to 4pm, and then goes and tries to focus on getting ready to argue with Mitt Romney over tax policy."
Hastings concedes that other factors, including Obama's overconfidence, contributed to his performance. But, Mediaite notes, the bodies of the Americans killed in Benghazi arrived in the US 19 days before the debate, and previous reports have indicated the president took the time to watch some football on the Sunday before the debate.

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Showing 3 of 23 comments
hog_one
Jan 17, 2013 8:42 AM CST
Hell, I thought the election was over. Where do I go to vote and when do I vote?
Perotstheman
Jan 17, 2013 7:42 AM CST
contrary to this apologetic little piece of shit article Odumass lost the debate because he is not a debator..he is an arguer(note this EXACT term used is the "article" of subject) He is a cocky little assface that doesn't even know enough about his own beliefs to be able to carry on , much less CARRY a DEBATE with anyone.That the press even refers to the election mudslinging episodes every 4 years as a DEBATE is indicative of just how disjointed the whole process has become. There hasn't been a TRUE debate between any candidates for many many years.
I_hate_to_say
Jan 17, 2013 12:12 AM CST
Only a small and fairly inscrutable percentage of voters were still undecided by the time of the first debate. Serious concerns existed regarding the tendency of a substantial subset of that number to be turned off by an Obama who was too aggressive and too eager to display his superior knowledge and debating skills -- call it the "uppity Negro" factor. Women especially prefer the gentlemanly, can't we all just get along' approach, and it's clear that Romney did not succeed in picking up many of them with his take no prisoners performance. In addition, if Romney had been "finished off" at that point with a decisive knockout punch by the POTUS, GOP donors may have given up on him and spent even more of their cash on the down ballot horse races, causing the Dems to pick up fewer seats in the House and Senate. A big showy victory in the first debate was never a high priority for the White House team.