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Obama: 'Not personally aware' of security requests before Libya attack

President Obama said Friday he was "not personally aware" of any request for more security by U.S. diplomats in Libya before the Sept. 11 strike on the consulate. 

The president addressed questions about those requests during an interview on "The Michael Smerconish Show." Several weeks ago, former security officers testified on Capitol Hill that they had sought additional protection in the months leading up to the attack -- further, a recently released cable from Ambassador Chris Stevens himself on the day of the attack noted "growing problems with security" in Benghazi. 

"I was not personally aware of any request," Obama said Friday, adding that there is an "infrastructure" in place to "manage requests." 

"Ultimately, though, any time there is a death of an American overseas, I want to find out what happened because my most important job as president is keeping the American people safe, and we will get to the bottom of what happened," he said. 

The White House had previously indicated that the State Department dealt with requests for security. That hasn't stopped lawmakers from pressing the administration for more information. House Speaker John Boehner, in a letter Thursday, raised concerns about documented "security problems" in the country before the attack and asked when was the last time Obama was briefed by Stevens. 

Stevens was killed along with three other Americans in that strike. In addition to concerns about security requests that were denied in the months leading up to the attack, sources have also told Fox News that a request for back-up from those at the CIA annex on site was also denied on the night of the attack.

Obama said Friday he "absolutely" plans to take action against whoever is responsible for the attack. 

"My biggest priority right now is bringing those folks to justice and I think the American people have seen that's a commitment I always keep," Obama said. He also said he wants to make sure "they are captured" -- without saying whether he would prefer they be captured, as opposed to killed. 

Obama went on to defend his administration's handling of the attack after the fact. As other officials have said, Obama said public statements made at the time about the nature of the attack were based on initial intelligence -- and that nobody was playing politics. 

U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice has faced criticism for claiming five days after the attack that it was a "spontaneous" reaction to protests in Egypt over an anti-Islam film. Other officials continued to point to the video for days, despite indications that it was a coordinated terror strike. The nature of the assault is still in dispute. 

Meanwhile, Obama criticized rival Mitt Romney again for his criticism that night of diplomatic officials in Cairo whose early reaction to protests there was to condemn the anti-Islam film. Obama called the action by Romney "reckless." 

The president also discussed the stalemate in Congress over the debt and deficit, saying if reelected he would to go to Capitol Hill to press his case. He said he'd "wash John Boehner's car" or walk Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's dog if that's what it takes.