During his UN address, the president condemned the violence and promised justice for the death of Libyan ambassador Chris Stevens, saying the U.S. would “be relentless in tracking down the killers.” Obama began his speech to the Assembly by providing biographical information on Stevens’ life, calling him “the best of America.”
The Republican National Committee released an advertisement earlier today that criticized Obama for calling the embassy attacks “bumps in the road” during his Sunday night CBS “60 Minutes” interview. This comes only a day after House Majority Leader Eric Cantor criticized the president, during a conference call with the press, about appearing on ABC‘s “The View.” The new ad refutes Obama’s bump in the road remark and says the situation in the Middle East is instead “a crisis of leadership.”
In today’s speech, Obama said the attacks in Benghazi were not just against America, but attacks against the ideals of the United Nations as well. He called upon world leaders to participate in a dialogue about the deeper causes of such violence and to support the freedoms and rights citizens around the world are seeking. “We believe that freedom and self-determination are not just unique to one culture,” Obama said.
The president called for peaceful responses to wrongs, saying the best response to hateful speech is more speech. He called for an end to the Syrian dictatorship and for Iran to reveal that its nuclear program is peaceful. He promised the U.S. would not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon, but again stressed the importance of dialogue. “America wants to resolve this issue through true diplomacy,” he said.
The president closed out his remarks to the Assembly by again highlighting the life of Chris Stevens, noting that Libyans changed their Facebook profile pictures to those of Stevens. “They should give us hope,” he said. “They should remind us that so long as we work for it, justice will be done, that history is on our side and that a rising tide of liberty will never be reversed.”