Three Republican senators are challenging President Obama’s claim, made during a press conference Monday, that he had publicly acknowledged early on that the fatal attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, were caused by terrorists.
Obama, when asked about the growing Benghazi controversy during a press conference, said, “I acknowledged this was an act of terrorism” in a Rose Garden statement following the attack.
The three Republicans – Sens. John McCain, of Arizona, Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, and Kelly Ayotte, of New Hampshire – said that while Obama referenced terrorism in a Rose Garden statement the day after the Sept. 11, 2012 attack, he firmly denied terrorism was the cause of the attack when asked about it that same day, during an interview on the CBS show "60 Minutes," and in other interviews that followed.
Senators said in a statement that Obama's claim on Monday that he had called the attacks terrorism “contradicts his comments over the course of two weeks after the attack in which the president repeatedly and specifically refused, in the heat of his re-election campaign, to label Benghazi a terrorist attack, despite the fact that there was compelling evidence that it was an al Qaeda-affiliated terrorist attack.”
The three lawmakers repeated their long-standing call for the appointment of a select committee to examine the Benghazi attack, which killed four Americans including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
Neither the Democratic Senate nor the Republican-run House has committed to forming a select committee, but House leaders promised to hold additional hearings with the co-chairs of a special State Department panel that is investigating the attack.