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The Benghazi Emails, The Debates and the Polls

Wednesday, October 24, 2012  |  posted by Hugh Hewitt

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This is a picture from Mitt Romney’s and Paul Ryan’s enormous Red Rocks, Colorado rally last night. Romney and Ryan are enjoying spectacular momentum.

The president is not. The reverse, in fact, as the Benghazi slaughter returns to haunt his last two weeks of campaigning.

Late Tuesday night Rueter ran a story on the emails sent and received concerning the atack on the consulate in Benghazi, the first of which was sent less than an hour after the attack had begun and hours before it was concluded. The embassy in Tripoli reported that 20 armed attackers had fired on the consualte. No mention –none– of a mob related to the video trailer.

The second email and third emails arrived within two hours, and while the first wrongly reported that the compound had been cleared, the third realyed “”Update 2: Ansar al-Sharia Claims Responsibility for Benghazi Attack.”

It was received in the White House in the Situation Room.

Thus the president’s staff knew within the first hour of the attack that the attack had begun, were wrongly told it was over, and of a claim of responsibility by al Qaeda-related terrorists, all within two hours.

It was 9/11, and radical Islamists were claiming to have attacked a United States consulate.

More reports would flood in over the next many hours, but the idea that the video was involved is not believable, and the connection to Islamist jihadists was there in the White House from the first hours of the atack, but refused credibility by a president and his team eager to be able to campaign on “bin Laden dead and al Qaeda shattered.”

The emails and all their implications have been public for more than ten hours and no notice of them is on either the New York Times or Washington Post home page. This is not Watergate-era veocity much less 2012 speed, but it is a pace designed to keep the president’s fading hopes alive one more day and attention away from his fecklessness, esepcially his trip to a fndraiser in Vegas the day after the attack.

The slow-walking of the story by Manhattan-Beltway media elites might have worked twenty years ago, but not today, as Senator Saxby Chambliss demonstrted on FNC this AM. By the end of Rush’s program 25% of America will know the White House knew and the president went to Vegas anyway, and by tonight every voter who is checking their email will know. This will deepen the president’s already deep political hole, one which the last debate did nothing to get him out of.

Yesterday’s day-after-the-debate debate did not favor the president, and for an analysis of why read the transcript of my interview with Commentary Magazine’s John Podhoretz.

For an assessement of the debate’s central moment, read the transcript of my interview with the London bureau chief of the New York Times’ John Fisher Burns from yesterday as well.

And for a good review of why the polls spell doom for the president and indeed in my view understate his peril, read the transcripts of the conversations I had with Scott Rasmussen and lefty-of-lefties Jon Chait. The latter is particularly fun since it puts on display the contorations the president’s backers are having to engage in to keep hope alive. “Pay no attention to those polls behind the curtain, or those emails in the Situation Room. Look over here at an Indiana senate candidate’s statement which we can attempt to distort for at least a day and keep attention off the dreary political reality!”

Chait is one of the dwindling number of go-to MSMers willing to help Chicago peddle a line, however preposterous (John Podhoretz’s term for Chait’s latest pretzel logic exclamations.) But as the usual suspects quietly get up and head for the exits, putting down some markers they can point to as evidence they were not totally in the tank for all four years, the panic grows and grows among the hard-core Hope-and-Changers in MSM from 2007 forward. They are staring repudiation in the face, a decisive rejection of their politics and their standard bearer, and one likely to keep them in the wilderness for a long, long time, reviewing their Pelosi scrapbooks and reminiscing about election night 2006 and 2008 and wondering where it all went wrong. (“If only he hadn’t picked Biden,” or “If only he’d taken a firmer hand with the Stimulus.”

It will be a long winter for the left, but as my friend Dennis Prager likes to say, it will return with a new leader and a new slogan. The left took a bad situation in 2008 and made it much, much worse. The good news is that Mitt Romney fixes things and does so with remarkable speed and good grace. He will do so again.

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