When it comes to the ruthlessness of Team Obama and its ability to manipulate a media desperate to be manipulated, a “gaffe” is not always a gaffe. Today on CNN, Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, said something quite incredible — that the “only reason” the murder of a US ambassador in Benghazi, Libya had become a political issue is “because of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan. It’s a big part of their stump speech. It’s reckless and irresponsible what they’re doing.”
On its face that sounds like a bombshell gaffe; something completely inappropriate and perfectly outrageous. Cutter is many things, though, including a brazen liar, but she is not stupid. And the Obama campaign has always been one that looks like its playing checkers when it’s usually playing chess.
Remember how we all laughed when ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos asked Mitt Romney about banning birth control? Well, that was a newsman working with Team Obama to launch a War on Women we’re still dealing with today. Remember how we all laughed when Cutter suggested Romney was a “felon” over his tax returns? Well, that helped to call even more attention to and extend that distraction-issue. Remember how just a couple of days ago we all laughed at Big Bird. Well, we weren’t talking about the economy or Libya, were we?
The Obama campaign has an indefensible record to run on and nothing to offer over the next four years other than more of the same. Therefore, everything from “felon” to Big Bird to abortion to tax returns to whatever nonsense they can hurl, is its way of offering a willing media something to talk about other than a failed record, a shrinking economy, exploding gas prices, Libya, and the fact that Obama has no second-term blueprint.
In other words, when a Stephanie Cutter does something that on its face looks ridiculous, you have to look for the method behind the madness. And there is method behind Cutter’s “gaffe.”
As we saw yesterday, the Narrative Drivers in the corrupt media are desperate to cover up and downplay the security failures and White House cover up surrounding the September 11 anniversary attack on our consulate in Libya. But with a foreign policy debate looming a couple of weeks from now, and a Mitt Romney who proved he can hold his own against President NakedEmperor, Team Obama is terrified.
During a live debate watched by tens of millions of voters outside the corrupt media’s filter, Romney will finally have the opportunity to do what Diane Sawyer embarrassed herself not doing last night — push, press, expose, and demand answers from Obama. Obviously, the Obama campaign needs to come up with a strategy to cut this off at the pass.
I’m not saying this is going to work, but what Cutter did today was an attempt to poison the well of the Libya discussion, by declaring any criticism a form of mercenary exploitation. In other words, Cutter didn’t make a gaffe, she rolled out a White House strategy that had already begun its roll out.
Yesterday, during his White House briefing, Jay Carney laid some of this track:
Again, this is a moving picture, and people who on the night of an attack or the day after claim they know all the facts without making clear that what we know is based on preliminary information aren’t being straight, and they’re in some cases trying to politicize a situation that should not be politicized. I think that’s what the president was getting at. And I think many other people felt the same way.
At almost the same time Cutter made her remarks, Lis Smith, the Obama campaign’s director of rapid response , fired off this tweet:
Somehow not shocked that whenever Libya’s discussed, the GOP’s first instinct is to turn it into a political attack.
— Lis Smith (@Lis_Smith) October 11, 2012
If that doesn’t convince you, maybe Cutter’s immediate doubling down will with a statement immediately after her CNN appearance:
From the time of the attack in Libya, Mitt Romney has stopped at nothing to politicize these events. While Mitt Romney, Congressman Ryan, and their Republican allies in Congress have turned a national tragedy into a political circus, the President has been focused on getting the facts, finding the terrorists responsible, and bringing them to justice. Our nation’s security and how we handle the transitions in the Middle East and North Africa are critical issues in this campaign, and just 26 days before an election, the American people deserve real ideas and specifics from Mitt Romney.
The media now has its marching orders — blast Romney for politicizing Libya every time his campaign brings it up.
And you can bet the media is relieved to have received those orders and is eager to oblige.
Thankfully, Team Romney is having none of it.
Follow John Nolte on Twitter @NolteNC