WHAT YOU MISSED

09.16.12

Susan Rice, Libyan President Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, Benjamin Netanyahu, and more Sunday Talk

U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice defends America's power abroad, Libya’s president says last week's embassy attacks were planned, Benjamin Netanyahu warns of a nuclear Iran, and more Sunday talk.

Rice: ‘We Are Not Impotent’

U.N. ambassador Susan Rice appeared on every major Sunday talk show to relay the Obama administration’s official position on the attacks in Libya: the attacks, she said repeatedly, were “a direct result” of the hateful internet video The Innocence of Muslims, which defamed the Prophet Muhammad, and were not pre-orchestrated by terrorist groups. Rice’s buzziest bytes came on This Week, however, when she responded to guest host Jake Tapper’s assertion that America was “impotent” in the face of such violence. “We're not impotent,” she responded, “We're not even less popular, to challenge that assessment. What happened this week in Cairo, in Benghazi, in many other parts of the region...was a result—a direct result of a heinous and offensive video that was widely disseminated, that the U.S. government had nothing to do with, which we have made clear is reprehensible and disgusting.”

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Libyan President: ‘No Doubt’ That Attacks Were Planned

The President of Libya’s General National Congress, Mohamed Yousef El-Magariaf, spoke to Face the Nation Sunday, and accused “foreigners” of planning the attacks on the American consulate in Benghazi. “They entered Libya from different directions,” he said, specifically identifying Mali and Algeria. “It was—definitely—it was planned by foreigners.” El-Magariaf added that the violent uprisings in Libya do not reflect the general sentiment of Libyans toward Americans: “These ugly deeds, criminal deeds that were directed against the late Ambassador Chris Stevens and his colleagues do not resemble [in] any way, in any sense, the aspirations, the feelings of Libyans toward the United States and its citizens.”

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Netanyahu: Iran Guided by ‘Unbelievable Fanaticism’

New year, same fear. On Meet the Press, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned David Gregory that Iran is scarily close to building a nuclear bomb. “Don’t let these fanatics have nuclear weapons,” Netanyahu urged. “They put their zealotry before their survival.” Renewing his call for a “red line” to curtail the Iranian nuclear program—which he likened to President Kennedy’s ultimatum during the Cuban Missile Crisis—Netanyahu stressed Iran’s threat with an awkward football analogy: “They’re in the red zone,” he said, “you can’t let them cross that goal line, you can’t let them score a touchdown.”

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Pelosi: Thank You, Paul Ryan!

Meanwhile, on State of the Union, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said that Democrats believe they can retake the House because Paul Ryan is on the Republican ticket. “On August 11, when Gov. Romney chose Ryan, that was the pivotal day,” Pelosi told Candy Crowley. “That is the day things really changed.” Ryan’s position on Medicare—to turn it into a voucher system—made the distinction between the parties clear, she said. And about the race for the White House? “Mitt Romney’s not going to be president of the United States,” she declared. “I think everybody knows that.” Snap.

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Rogers: ‘Too Early’ To Tell What Caused Attacks

On Fox News Sunday, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee Mike Rogers (R-Michigan) challenged U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's claim that the protestors in the Middle East represent a small and disorganized constituency, insisting that a closer look may prove otherwise. According to Rogers, American intelligence analysts are only “moderately confident” that the series of attacks was “spontaneous,” arguing that certain classified evidence may imply a broader military or terrorist effort. “The first thing you learn as a young FBI agent is there are coincidences,” he remarked, “but they’re not likely.”

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Is Romney's 'Too Soon' Moment a Distraction?

Mitt Romney's “shoot first, aim later” reaction to the events in Benghazi and Cairo drew nearly as much American media attention as the attacks themselves. But is the spotlight on Romney's gaffe just another sucker punch in a particularly bloody campaign season—or could the candidate’s response have any actual impact on America's tenuous position in the Middle East? The latter, argued Pulitzer-winning journalist Clarence Page on Reliable Sources: in terms of showing just what the region might look like under a Romney administration, the candidate's reaction was  “just as important as the crisis itself.”

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Amanpour: Israel Won't Attack

In light of the ever-growing protests throughout the Middle East, Christiane Amanpour took to This Week to analyze America and Israel's greatest source of unease in the region: Iran. Despite Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's urging to establish a "red line"—nuclear sanctions which Iran can cross only at the risk of severe military intervention—Amanpour argued that Israel has no intentions of attacking Iranian nuclear facilities, becoming in recent months “lukewarm if not downright negative on the idea of a unilateral Israeli attack.” Along with Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barack, “the Israeli people,” she continued, “do not want to see their country unilaterally attack Iran.”

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