POLITICS

Obama: ‘Somewhere, somehow, somebody in the federal government is screwing up’

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

President Obama, while discussing the Benghazi terrorist attack, commented on the difficulty of knowing that someone in the federal government is making a mistake at all times.

Obama remembered a conversation he had with then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates shortly after he took office.

“And he says, ‘Mr. President, one thing I can guarantee you is that at this moment, somewhere, somehow, somebody in the federal government is screwing up,’” Obama said on CBS’s 60 Minutes last night.”And, you know you’re– and so part of what you’re trying to do is to constantly improve systems and accountability and transparency to minimize those mistakes and ensure success. It is a dangerous world.”

When Obama last appeared on “60 Minutes” to discuss Benghazi, he was one of the people “screwing up” in the federal government, as he refused to concede that the Benghazi assault was a terrorist attack.

“Well it’s too early to tell exactly how this came about, what group was involved, but obviously it was an attack on Americans,” Obama said when Steve Kroft asked him “do you believe that this was a terrorist attack” on September 12. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton later acknowledged that al-Qaeda was involved in the assault.

CBS didn’t air that Kroft question on television on September 12. Kroft did not follow up on it with Obama last night.

The Gates anecdote somewhat the White House’s reaction to the General Service Administration’s scandal of spending over $800,000 on a conference in Las Vegas.

“Well it’s a big government, so I would hesitate to make any blanket statements,” White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said when asked if spending in other agencies was more responsible.

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