See the transcript below:
Fox News Sunday 11/4/2012
WALLACE: Before we get to the campaign, I want to ask you
about Libya. Here is what the president promised, and here’s
what he has actually done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Every piece
of information that we get, as we got it, we laid it out for the
(END VIDEO CLIP)
WALLACE: And, that was the president, returning from a
campaign trip, and not answering a question about Benghazi.
David, simple question: did the president make a calculated
decision, to run out the clock until the election and not answer
questions about Libya?
WALLACE: So, why hasn’t he answered questions about his
personal involvement in Libya?
AXELROD: The president has from the beginning, Chris –
and we’ve talked you about this before, of course — the
president has said, we want to get to the bottom of it. We want
to share it with the American people. We want to get it right.
And there are a couple of distinguished Americans,
Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen, the former head of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff, who are reviewing the whole matter, to
get to the bottom of it. Not just to find out, you know, where
things went wrong, but, how to fix it. And, so, that our
diplomats and the service people we send overseas are as safe as
they can be.
Now, they are serving in dangerous places and you cannot
eliminating risk but you want to do as much as you can. And
that’s what the president’s goal.
WALLACE: I understand all of the interagency issues and
that does take time. But I’m going to ask you a few
straightforward questions about the president’s personal
involvement that don’t take time, and he could answer today.
Question one: the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was attacked
twice before the 9/11 fatal assault. In fact, in August, and
repeatedly, security officials there asked for more security,
said they felt they were vulnerable. And, the situation was so
dangerous that the British diplomats and the Red Cross pulled
out of Benghazi. Question: did the president know about that?
AXELROD: Chris, all I can tell you is, the president is
fully committed to the safety of his diplomats. He knew the
ambassador. He was deeply invested in his work there.
And, obviously, any steps that we needed to take, we would
have wanted to take. So, you know, I mean, I’m not in the White
House, I’m not privy to all of the discussions, but I can tell
you this: this president is 100 percent committed to the people
of — he sends overseas personally to represent this country.
He’s the one who met the coffins when they came home.
So, any suggestion that he would not take the necessary
steps to protect them, make some decision not to take the steps
to protect them, is just nonsense.
WALLACE: David, I understand you are not in the White
House anymore but on the other hand, you did prepare the
president and the vice president for their debates, where Libya
came up and one of the debates, the vice president said, we
weren’t told about requests for more security.
So I guess I’m asking, again, directly, did they know how
dangerous the situation in Benghazi was, beforehand, before the
attack? And, that the — security officials in Benghazi were
asking for more help?
AXELROD: Obviously, Benghazi was dangerous. There were
many other places in the world that are dangerous, where our
diplomats serve and where our military serves, where our
intelligence people serve.
And — but the question the vice president was asked, was
did he know about a specific request for additional security and
the answer to that was no. Those requests go — we have
230-plus facilities around the world, those requests go to the
security professionals in the State Department. And that’s what
happened in this case.
WALLACE: Second area. On the night of the attack, the
president met with top national security advisors, and told them
to deploy assets to the area. Question: why did he decide not
to deploy? Why not actually send those assets in, in the seven
hours between the first attack and the second attack, in
Benghazi, that night, and, the second attack, seven hours later,
two Americans were killed?
AXELROD: Chris, it has been reported and as the White
House has said, I think, there was another piece of it in the
paper this morning. The president convened the top military
officials that evening and told them to do whatever was
necessary. And they took the steps they thought — they took
every step they could take.
But, listen, this is exactly what this review is about.
Because, the real question here is, what went wrong, what could
have been done better, if we have to make adjustments in the
future, what adjustments should we make? That is a solemn
responsibility of the president, and, everyone who serves with
him and that’s what’s going to happen.
WALLACE: Finally, the president canceled campaigning for
three days — three days — to deal with hurricane Sandy and he
was praised for that. Why did he decide to go campaigning in
Las Vegas within hours after four Americans were killed in
Benghazi, in a terror attack?
AXELROD: Chris, as I said, immediately when word of the
attack came, the president was meeting with his top national
security folks. He was talking to them well into the night. He
was in touch with them, during the day, as — during the next
day as well.
So, there is no question about the fact that he was focused
WALLACE: But, why did he feel he could campaign within
hours after a terror attack?
AXELROD: Well, everything — everything was put in motion,
that he could put in motion. Everything — every conversation
that needed to be had was being had between him and his top
national security officials.