# Libya

3 ways Matt Lauer failed to press Donald Trump on his Russian entanglements

Donald Trump’s potential to be unduly influenced by Russian President Vladimir Putin has been worrying me for some time, so my head nearly exploded when I watched NBC’s Matt Lauer question Trump about Putin during last night’s “Commander-in-Chief forum.”

Other commentators have already noted how Lauer interrupted Hillary Clinton repeatedly but let Trump get away with long-winded non-responses, didn’t follow up when Trump lied (again) about supposedly having opposed the war in Iraq and military intervention in Libya, and didn’t mention controversial Trump statements of obvious relevance to an audience of veterans.

Lauer also flubbed a perfect chance to scrutinize Trump’s Russia connections.

Continue Reading...

CBS finally acknowledges Benghazi story debacle

“60 Minutes” correspondent Lara Logan and her producer Max McClellan are taking a leave of absence after an internal review at CBS News acknowledged major problems with a segment broadcast last month. Logan highlighted an alleged eyewitness’s sensational account about the 2012 terrorist attacks on the U.S. compound at Benghazi, Libya. But much of that security contractor’s story appears to have been fabricated, leading to his publisher taking the extraordinary step of pulling his book about Benghazi.

Here’s a timeline of the “Benghazi Trainwreck”, and here are seven major problems with the story Logan aired.

Among the unanswered questions surrounding this black eye for the flagship CBS news program: “why the hell did CBS News continue to defend this story after evidence emerged that Davies had fabricated his tale?” Jay Rosen chronicled the network’s “reckless denials” here.

Also, did Logan’s husband play a role in getting some unsourced allegations on the air in her Benghazi piece? Perhaps most important, why hasn’t Logan been fired, rather than merely asked or forced to take a leave of absence? After an inaccurate “60 Minutes” story aired in 2004 about George W. Bush’s National Guard service, CBS commissioned an independent panel (rather than an internal review) and eventually fired several employees who were involved in producing the segment.

Any relevant comments are welcome in this thread.  

Continue Reading...

Final IA-01 news roundup, with closing ads from Braley and Lange

Shortly before election day 2010, Representative Bruce Braley and his staff were sweating it. The Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee spent significant funds to help Braley fend off a ton of attack ads funded by conservative groups. Braley defeated Ben Lange by just 4,209 votes. If not for Iowa Democrats' early vote program and the presence of two minor-party candidates on the ballot, Lange might be in Congress today.

This year, Iowa's first Congressional district looks far less competitive. A final review of Braley's rematch against Lange is after the jump, including some fireworks from the candidates' Iowa Public Television debate last week.  

Continue Reading...

Obama-Romney foreign policy debate discussion thread

In a few minutes President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney will debate for the last time. Bob Schieffer of CBS News will moderate the final debate, which will focus on foreign-policy issues. I imagine the ratings will be much lower tonight than for the previous two debates, partly because foreign policy isn't a priority for most voters, and partly because the debate is up against Monday Night Football and game 7 of the National League Championship Series in baseball.

Any comments about the debate or the presidential race in general are welcome in this thread. I will update later with some thoughts and news clips. Most national tracking polls show Romney and Obama within the margin of error for each other; Gallup continues to show Romney leading and above 50 percent. The candidates haven't focused on foreign policy in many speeches or commercials, but the latest spot from the president's re-election campaign highlights the drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan.

UPDATE: Added thoughts and links after the jump.  

Continue Reading...

Middle East violence puts foreign policy at center of U.S. politics

This thread is for any comments related to this week’s assassination of Christopher Stephens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and the violent protests at the U.S. embassy in Egypt. Here’s a timeline of events and statements from various officials and politicians. The diplomatic community is mourning Stephens, who became the eighth U.S. ambassador killed in the line of duty since 1950. There were some pro-American and anti-terrorism rallies in Libya on September 12. The U.S. has warships en route to Libya and is tightening security at embassies around the world.

Yesterday several commentators lambasted Republican Presidential candidate Mitt Romney for bungling his “3 a.m. phone call” moment. While events were unfolding in the Middle East, Romney criticized the Obama administration’s handling of the incidents. As Matt Vasilogambros reported here, the facts do not support Romney’s claim that the president’s “first response was not to condemn attacks on our diplomatic missions, but to sympathize with those who waged the attacks.” President Barack Obama told CBS correspondent Steve Kroft, “Governor Romney seems to have a tendency to shoot first and aim later. And as president, one of the things I’ve learned is you can’t do that.”

Continue Reading...

Iowa reaction to the death of former Libyan dictator Gadhafi

Libyan forces captured and killed Colonel Moammar Gadhafi today in the former dictator's hometown of Sirte. Representative Bruce Braley (D, IA-01) welcomed news of the "victory for freedom-loving people" but added that "With Gadhafi out of the picture, it's time for US involvement in Libya to end." Braley has been an outspoken critic of the Obama administration's open-ended intervention in Libya. He has voted against authorizing military action there and repeatedly demanded a cost accounting of our mission.

Representative Dave Loebsack (D, IA-02) reacted to today's news with a statement calling on "international organizations to step forward and help the Libyan people" so that the U.S. can "focus on creating jobs here at home." Loebsack sits on the House Armed Services Committee but has generally avoided commenting on the U.S. mission in Libya. In June, he voted against authorizing the intervention but also against defunding it.

The full statements from Braley and Loebsack are after the jump. I will update this post if other members of Iowa's Congressional delegation comment on today's events. UPDATE: Added reaction from Leonard Boswell (D, IA-03) and Steve King (R, IA-05). King and Boswell supported authorizing the Libya intervention. King was one of only five House members to vote against barring federal funding for U.S. ground troops in Libya.

SECOND UPDATE: Comments from Tom Latham (R, IA-04) and Senator Chuck Grassley are below.

Continue Reading...
View More...