Explicit Enough?

Obama on Benghazi

Obama explicitly called Benghazi attack an "act of terror" on September 13; Romney, Sept. 20.

This morning video emerges of Obama, in Colorado, specifically calling the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" on Sept. 13, the day after the press conference at the White House where he called it such only indirectly:

Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week -- we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya. Yesterday I had a chance to go over to the State Department to talk to friends and colleagues of those who were killed. And these were Americans who, like so many others, both in uniform and civilians, who serve in difficult and dangerous places all around the world to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans.

And a lot of times their work goes unheralded, doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is vitally important. We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices that they make. And they do an outstanding job every single day without a lot of fanfare. (Applause.)

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. (Applause.) I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.

If you don't think that's direct enough, then you're probably part of the crowd that believes he was photo-shopped into that famous Situation Room photo.

Meanwhile, Romney himself didn't call it a terrorist act until Sept. 25, as Think Progress reports. As usual, he lied about the administration's position, saying the White House still denied it was a terrorist attack, when Jay Carney (finally) came around to calling it that on Sept. 20.

All of this is just gamesmanship, but it matters for the purposes of the next debate. In real-world terms, completely separate from politics and elections, I don't see why the attack couldn't have been both spontaneous and an act of terrorism. Do terrorists only plan? Do they never do anything on the spur of the moment?

Romney really blew this last night, and given the above Sept. 25 business, he is now exposed to an obvious attack next Monday. The question that lingers for the administration is the one that Obama didn't answer last night, about why there wasn't more security. He's still vulnerable on that particular point, but it's likely that he wasn't in the loop on all that, that that buck stopped with Hillary, but obviously he can't hang her out to dry, especially after the bullet she took for him this week. But last night turned the weight of this issue from White House's mishandling to Romney's politicization.