by Tom Donelson on October 15, 2012 at 12:13 PM
A lowly New York Times reporter gets a document handed to him. It is a transcript of a meeting in which Joe Biden, Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton were present, in which security concerns in Libya were discussed including the need for boots on the ground. Biden’s debate with Paul Ryan has left open a serious problem for the Administration, and right now there appears to be a struggle that could end Barack's chance for re-election. Biden stated the White House was never made aware of security concerns; and the day before the Vice Presidential debate, Congress was hearing from State Department officials that they requested additional security on the ground and were turned down. This leaves the question, when was President Obama made aware of the situation on the ground or was he? If not, then why not?
This translates to blaming Hillary Clinton for not only ignoring security concerns but also not notifying Obama. What Biden actually did was blame Madame Security of State for not properly informing the President, and this has implications not just now, but beyond. It shows the implosion of the Middle East and an Administration that was too busy spiking the ball for killing Bin Laden while missing what was really going on in the Middle East. It also has an implication beyond 2012 as both Biden and Clinton vie for the 2016 nomination. Biden didn’t help himself with his boorish behavior in the recent Vice-Presidential debate, but he did lay the blame for the disaster in Libya and the death of an American Ambassador at the feet of Hillary Clinton.
The Clintons have already been political animals, and somehow I don’t see Hillary or Bill allowing Hillary to be impaled by Obama and Biden when it comes to Libya policy. For Hillary, her stint as Secretary of State is to be her ticket to the White House as she is presently the second most popular Democrat with only her husband being more popular; and to have the implosion of the Middle East happen on her watch has repercussions for 2016. With the election just upon us, any more explosions in the Middle East could end Obama's quest for re-election, especially if Obama is considered responsible for a policy that resulted in the death of an American Ambassador. So far, the very pliable media has all but ignored this story, but Joe Biden has managed to put this back on the front burner with his claims that the White House was in the dark about the need for more security. The next day after the debate, the White House spent the whole day clarifying various Biden goofs, but his statement dealing with Libyan security had the White House supporting Biden’s claim about not being in the loop on the need for additional security. That only means that Hillary Clinton is responsible for the Libya fiasco, and Obama is throwing Clinton under the bus. Bill Clinton, who is aiding Obama with his campaigning, is not about to allow his wife's chances at the White House to be flushed down the toilet. The problem remains of what to do? Hillary is already preparing for an exit early in Obama’s second term if Obama finds a way to win the election.
If she is cast as the principal behind the collapse of Obama’s Middle East policy, then her 2016 race to the White House is already compromised. If Hillary comes out in a very public forum and claims that Obama was properly informed, then Obama's goose is cooked since he will be caught lying along with his Vice-President. The problem with this scenario is that if Hillary is seen as being responsible for Obama’s defeat, that ends her 2016 campaign. There are only two options. The first option is to hope that the media keeps ignoring the issue, but Republicans will keep this issue alive and the last debate on October 22nd centers on Foreign policy. The second option is to leak information to friendly sources while maintaining public support for Obama’s policies. As for Obama, if he is caught lying, be prepared for the following two words, “President Romney.”
The other problem for Obama is that on one of his key foreign policies, he was out of the loop for key information: an extreme failure for an executive. Regardless, he has his own trouble. Being out of the loop can be dealt with since much of the media will protect Obama, but if he is found lying, that is another story. (It should be noted that not being informed about key information about one of his principal foreign policies is a significant failure in lieu of the implosion of his Middle East Policy. The good news for Obama is most in the media will not push the issue as not to embarrass Obama.)
If the momentum picks up over the next week that the State Department and intelligence communities did not properly inform the President, expect some within the State Department to quietly fight back. If you see a piece in the Washington Post that Obama was responsible for the policy and was aware of the security on the ground; start looking for Bill and Hillary Clinton's hands. The October Surprise may be sprung on Obama by his Secretary of State.