Defense Secretary Justifies Inaction in Benghazi Attack
US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta explained that the US military commander for Africa, General Carter Ham, the chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Martin Dempsey, and himself all decided against any intervention to rescue those besieged because “we lacked a clear picture of what was happening.”
Panetta admitted that “while the drone surveillance did give us a real-time view of events on the ground, there were still some unanswered questions. First, we couldn't be sure how many attackers were involved. Was it 50, 100? Without knowing this we couldn't be sure how many reinforcements to send.”
“Second, the pictures from the drone couldn't clearly establish the intent of the attackers,” Panetta continued. “We had no way of knowing they would actually kill the Ambassador. Maybe if those under attack had simply surrendered they would have been taken alive. We couldn't risk negating this potential option.”
“There was always the chance that an attempt to rescue the Ambassador might make things worse,” Panetta added. “As it now stands, only four Americans were killed. If we had sent in troops there likely would've been more casualties on both sides. By declining to charge in we at least have no Libyan blood on our hands.”
The Secretary brushed off reports that those under attack were desperately pleading for help. “It's to be expected that persons in their position would have a rather narrow perspective of the situation,” he said. “It's hard to appreciate the bigger picture when you're in fear for your life. Those of us with broader responsibilities must maintain a calmer demeanor and balance the costs and benefits of escalating the confrontation.”
Vice-President Warns “GOP Will Cut Taxes by $500 Trillion”
Seeking to shore up his Party's base, Vice-President Joe Biden warned that “the GOP will cut taxes by $500 trillion if we let them win this election.”
“All the investments this Administration has made to try to ensure a more equitable distribution of the nation's wealth are at risk,” Biden said. “Do you think you can count on Republicans to continue to expand the ranks of those on disability or food stamps? Do you think they'll be as supportive of green energy?”
The Vice-President insisted that “your government needs this $500 trillion to help advance the fundamental transformation of American life that we all voted for in 2008. Don't let the forces of greed succeed in withholding this from you. A vote for the Democratic Party is a vote to put that money into your pocket.”
In related news, the Vice-President denied that “stimulus funds” that have benefited a company owned, in part, by his brother, was improper or corrupt. “Since when do we criticize a man who helps his brother?” Biden wanted to know. “I shouldn't be pilloried for looking out for my own kin. It's the 'Cains' who refuse to be their brother's keeper that we ought to be wary of.”
Biden's brother James is a partner in Hill International—a company that received a no-bid contract to build $1.5 billion in affordable housing in Iraq. The contract is expected to net the partners over $700 million in profits.
President's Ad Puts the Moves on First-Time Voters
A new ad from the Obama campaign aimed at first-time voters lurched into the realm of bad taste by comparing voting to losing one's virginity.
“You want your first time to be something you can always remember,” said Lena Dunham, creator and star of the HBO series Girls. “Voting for Romney would be like doing it with that Boy Scout your parents are always complimenting and hoping you will go out with. Voting for Obama would be like doing it with the boy they're trying to keep you from seeing. Is there any question about who you really want to be your first?”
Dunham suggested that “Romney is like an 'A student,' too straight-laced' to be much fun. Obama is mysterious and alluring. He may not be paying much attention in class, but he hangs out with the cool kids getting high and cracking jokes. You know he knows how to do it right.”
Obama campaign spokesperson Stephanie Cutter defended the ad despite robust criticism from what she characterized as “the boring opponents of women's sexual freedom. We think the contrast is legitimate. For a young woman, voting for Romney would be like voting for her father. Voting for President Obama is like voting for adventure. Is there really any doubt which appeals more to a teen-aged female?”
Skimpy Benghazi Security a “Strategic Decision”
Emerging evidence that both Ambassador Stephens and Secretary of State Clinton had requested increased security in Benghazi prior to the September 11 attack pushes blame upstream to the White House. Presidential Press Secretary Jay Carney made an effort to expound upon the Administration's thinking.
“The determination not to beef up security for our embassy and consulate in Libya was a strategic decision,” Carney asserted. “I know that in hindsight it looks bad, but there were cogent reasons for the decision.”
“The President felt that a heavy contingent of armed guards would send the wrong message to our Muslim friends in Libya and around the world,” Carney explained. “It would've been a way of saying 'we don't trust you.' Building trust was and is a key goal of this Administration.”
Carney contended that “the focus on the Ambassador's request for more security is one-sided. More security could've been interpreted as an insult to the Libyan Government. It might've undermined the good will we earned by helping overthrow Gaddafi.”
“The important thing is that we not let this one tragedy undermine our long-term strategy for recasting our country's relationship with Islamic nations around the globe,” Carney urged. “Undoing the mistakes of previous Administrations isn't easy and is not without risk. We think Ambassador Stephens understood this and would be appalled to see his death used to criticize the policies of a President he heartily supported while he lived.”
Virginia AG Declines to Prosecute Moran
Patrick Moran, the son of Representative Jim Moran (D-Va), was caught on tape advising an undercover reporter on ways to fake IDs so invalid votes could be cast. Nevertheless, Virginia State Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (R) declined to press charges.
“Look, this type of thing is pretty standard for how Democrats try to manipulate elections in this state,” Cuccinelli observed. “If I filed a case every time they try to commit vote fraud I wouldn't have the resources to pursue more serious crimes.”
Cuccinelli also argued that “trying to take this kind of offense through the courts may not be the most effective way of dealing with it anyway. The process is long and drawn out. The penalties are inadequate. It may be a case of too little, too late.”
“Publicity may be the best remedy,” Cuccinelli concluded. “Getting caught right before election day may help voters understand their choices better at a time when they can more effectively punish these crooks by denying them the fruits of their fraudulent schemes.”
Lavish Entertainment at White House Called “Unavoidable”
Reports that the cost of entertainment at the White House have soared during President Obama's term were called “unavoidable” by First Lady Michelle Obama.
“Barack is no ordinary president,” Michelle contended. “He is a Nobel Prize winner. He is tremendously popular all over the world. Polls show that if everyone in the world could vote for the President of the United States he'd win with over 70% of the votes. So, naturally, it's going to cost more.”
The “rock star” status enjoyed by President Obama “boosts both the frequency and expense necessary to entertain visitors at the White House,” Michelle argued. “There's just so many more people who want to be with Barack than wanted to be with Bush or Clinton. On top of this, people expect an urbane and sophisticated experience. We're not hosting the kind of hillbilly or cowboy clientele that dominated previous administrations.”
The highest cost event during the Obama Administration was a state dinner for the President of Mexico at a price of around $4700 per attendee. In comparison, the highest cost event during the Clinton Administration cost around $400 per attendee.
In related news, the First Lady advised supporters to “vote early because you may find your toilet overflowing on election day.”
Obama's Trouble with Math a Plus, Axelrod Says
President Obama's admission to talk show host Jay Leno that “my math expertise tops out at the 7th grade level” isn't a handicap as Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod sees it.
“Some are going to jump to the conclusion that a person like Mitt Romney with his financial experience in multimillion dollar business investments would be a better person to manage the government in a time of fiscal crisis,” Axelrod said. “But we don't agree.”
“We think the vast majority of voters will identify with the President's aversion to math,” Axelrod pointed out. “Most people find math to be hard and distasteful. They are, in a sense, in sync with the President. They understand his struggle to cope with the severely complex issues of debt and taxes.”
“In contrast, we think voters will see Romney as a member of an elite minority that easily comprehends high finance and, as such, fails to understand how the average person lives,” Axelrod conjectured. “They won't vote for the nerd who's a math whiz. They'll vote for the guy who's like them, the guy they can trust to be on their side.”
Poll of Obama Voters Show Majority Hope for Change in Second Term
A recent poll of people saying they will vote for Obama's reelection yielded confusing implications.
Only 4% said they wanted a second term to be like the first. Over 60% said they hoped a second term would be “significantly different.” The rest said they didn't know enough about the first term to decide.
“Nothing seems to have gone right the past four years,” said one of the 60%. “I still haven't got a job. I had to move back in with my parents.” As for why he's still voting to reelect Obama, he said “I believe a person learns from his mistakes. The President has made so many that he must have learned a lot.”
In contrast, a member of the 4% argued that “the President isn't getting the credit he deserves. I got disability for my drug habit and with the Social Security and food stamps I'm getting life is a lot less stressful than it was under Bush. I'd say President Obama has delivered on his promise to transform America.”
Former President Clinton Calls Voters “Impatient”
As polls continue to indicate a shift in favor of Romney, former President Bill Clinton castigated voters for their impatience.
“Four years isn't that much time,” Clinton complained. “In the 1930s voters easily reelected President Roosevelt even though his policies were even less effective in dealing with the economy than President Obama's have been. Unemployment was twice as high as it is now. Businesses everywhere were shuttered. People stood in soup lines in every city. Stock prices were a fraction of what they are now. It was, from every perspective a disaster. Yet, FDR was reelected by a huge margin.”
Clinton speculated that “changes in communications may account for the difference. Back then the FCC could turn the screws on radio stations that openly criticized the President. Today, anyone can pretty much say anything they want about him.”
“Then there's the Internet,” Clinton continued. “Anyone with a keyboard and an opinion can quickly and inexpensively reach millions of voters. There's no effective way to monitor and filter what voters see or hear.”
While admitting that he was “not optimistic that President Obama will be able to withstand the onslaught of unscreened criticisms of his policies,” Clinton said he hoped that “reforms can be put into place that would give the government a firmer grip on these unregulated avenues of communication before worse damage is done.”
Secretary Rebuffs Welfare Critique
Revelations that the federal government spends over $60,000 per year per poverty household were labeled “misleading” by Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius.
“Just looking at this one number makes it appear like these poor families are receiving middle class incomes from the federal government,” Sebelius complained. “A more accurate figure would show that these families are receiving only about a third of that amount. The other $40,000 goes to cover the cost of administering the programs.”
While an “overhead” administrative cost of double the amount of benefits to the poor might seem a bit steep, Sebelius justified it as “a jobs program for people trained as social workers. If government doesn't employ graduates with degrees in sociology who will? Or do we just let these talents go to waste?”
Sebelius also compared the $60,000 per household cost with “the much larger sums handed out to corporations under the 'stimulus' and 'green energy' programs. A lot of those recipients simply squandered the money they received on ill-conceived and inefficient products. At least our handouts enabled families to put food on their tables.”
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