Last week, Obama deputy campaign manager and agent provocateur, Stephanie Cutter shockingly claimed that Benghazi would not be a “political topic” if not for Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. Though she was roundly criticized for that statement, another Obama campaign spokesman thought it wise to double down over the weekend and defend Cutter’s ridiculous claim.
“The entire reason this has become the you know, political topic it is, is because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan,” said Cutter during a CNN appearance on Thursday. ”It’s a big part of their stump speech and it’s reckless and irresponsible.”
Instead of distancing himself from what was a huge campaign misstep, senior campaign adviser David Axelrod said on Fox News Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday, “There’s no doubt he [Romney] is working hard to exploit this issue” then suggested Romney should step back and “allow this investigation to run and get to the bottom of it.”
Cutter has not retracted her statement, despite garnering widespread criticism. While Ms. Cutter’s remarks are extremely disrespectful to the families of the slain Americans, they are also indicative of a key element in Obama’s “skirt the tough issues” campaign strategy.
The Obama campaign operates under the notion that they may table discussions that are not politically expedient. Unfortunately, most politically inexpedient material surrounds President Obama’s record, which has a pesky way of being relevant and unavoidable.
As the deputy campaign manager and senior adviser, Ms. Cutter and Mr. Axelrod are directly responsible for this “close the discussion” strategy. Consider the discussion surrounding unemployment in America: The October 3 debate rightfully pointed out the saturated unemployment numbers from the past four years.
And magically, two days after the debate, September unemployment unemployment numbers were the lowest since January 2009. But unlike unemployment numbers, neither the Obama administration, nor reelection campaign can release a quick fix for the Benghazi debacle.
The Obama campaign advisers need to revisit the difference between accountability and politicization. President Obama is responsible for a grave failure in foreign policy, and demanding an explanation for this failure is certainly not above the President’s pay grade.
As the second debate nears, the Romney campaign must treat the Benghazi scandal like the tip of the iceberg; Benghazi is one of many unseemly issues with the Obama administration (The Fast and Furious scandal should ring a bell).
In the meantime, Obama’s reelection team advisers may operate in denial that tabling a discussion is the same as whitewashing a disastrous record, but they shouldn’t expect the Romney campaign to keep quiet and do the same.