WITH MONDAY’S final debate on foreign policy looming, let’s hope somebody on Team Obama figures out a better answer than what President Obama slipped under Jon Stewart’s nose last night. Because Romney won’t make the same mistake he did in Candy Crowley’s town hall.
However, after starting to re-litigate the Libya fumbling of the Obama administration, Team Romney saw their economic numbers post town hall, deciding to spend their capital on the economy, instead of pushing their position on Libya, letting surrogates do that work.
It comes as the New York Times reports an embarrassing anecdote out of Libya that makes a mockery of Obama’s statements last night with Jon Stewart.
Witnesses and the authorities have called Ahmed Abu Khattala one of the ringleaders of the Sept. 11 attack on the American diplomatic mission here. But just days after President Obama reasserted his vow to bring those responsible to justice, Mr. Abu Khattala spent two leisurely hours on Thursday evening at a crowded luxury hotel, sipping a strawberry frappe on a patio and scoffing at the threats coming from the American and Libyan governments. – Suspect in Libya Attack, in Plain Sight, Scoffs at U.S.
Stewart is good at his job, but on foreign policy he is simply not up to the job. It was a David Letterman moment, where the host basically lets the President give talking points without being challenged.
Libya is very unlikely to swing the election to Romney’s advantage unless something dramatic happens on Monday. But sitting side by side, any aggression by Romney could play very badly for the challenger.
That doesn’t change the fact that President Obama still hasn’t delivered a satisfactory through line on Libya. His performance with Stewart being met by the embarrassing story in the New York Times reveals how badly President Obama has handled the situation.
Witnesses, Benghazi residents and Western news reports, including those in The New York Times, have described Mr. Abu Khattala as a leader of Ansar al-Shariah, whose trucks and fighters were seen attacking the mission. Mr. Abu Khattala praised the group’s members as “good people with good goals, which are trying to implement Islamic law,” and he insisted their network of popular support was vastly underestimated by other brigade leaders who said the group had fewer than 200 fighters. [New York Times]
What Mitt Romney has to do on Monday is slip the economy into the conversation, even if he has to do it by saying it’s a national security issue. Because the economy is his strong suit, he’s narrowed the national security gap to 4 points, and if people are voting on Obama as commander in chief Romney will lose any advantage he’s built up since the debates began.