Sen. Graham: President is 'still misleading us' on Benghazi

Reaction to Obama's comments to Bill O'Reilly


This is a rush transcript from "Your World," February 3, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.


PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA: Understand, by definition, Bill, when somebody is attacking our compound...


OBAMA: ... that's an act of terror, which is how I characterized it the day after it happened.


NEIL CAVUTO, HOST: Well, the president sticking to his guns and telling Bill O'Reilly he called the Benghazi an act of terror right from the start. But is an act of terror really the same as a terrorist act?

You heard what the president told Bill yesterday. Here's what he said to the nation back then.


OBAMA: No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation.


CAVUTO: All right, that was the day after the attack. But do those two statements mean the same thing?

South Carolina Republican Senator Lindsey Graham says, no, they do not, not even close.

So, Senator, you're arguing the president is trying to have it both ways, that he immediately seized on this as a terrorist act, when in fact he did not.

SEN. LINDSEY GRAHAM, R-S.C.: No, I'm telling the public the president misled the nation about what happened in Benghazi.

Last year, he got the lie of the year award for saying if you like your health care, you could keep it. He's going to have back-to-back titles by saying this. How do you reconcile what Susan Rice told the nation on 16 September, the spokesman for the administration, when she said there was no terrorist attack, no Al Qaeda involvement, this was protest caused by video, and she told the nation there was no terrorist attack, no Al Qaeda involvement, when in fact there was.

And the president himself started talking about a protest caused by video, because if the truth had been known seven weeks before an election, that is was an Al Qaeda-inspired terrorist attack you could see coming for a long time, his reelection was at risk.

No, they manipulated the facts to get reelected. And the reason Benghazi doesn't go away, it's not a Fox News story. It's not a Republican story. It's an American story. And people want to know more because of four dead Americans.

CAVUTO: A lot of people go back and forth, Senator, on what the president knew and when he knew it and what he said, and how he meant it, whether it's semantics, whether it's just being deliberately deceitful.


CAVUTO: We do know this, that the day after this incident, he was off to Las Vegas for a political fund-raiser.

Now, politicians go to fund-raisers all the time, but if memory serves me right, it was Mitt Romney who was criticized for commenting on this in a plane off to a campaign event, and no one noticed the oddity of the president disparaging that in a plane off to a fundraising event.


GRAHAM: Well, nobody -- they're making two movies about the bin Laden raid. We have got every photo known to man about the president's direct leadership, being in the Situation Room, real-time involvement, giving the OK. They're literally making two movies about a successful raid to kill bin Laden. The president deserves great credit for that tough call.

But we don't know what he did that night. We know he never talked to anybody in Libya. He only talked to the secretary of defense once. And General Ham told the secretary of defense, this is a terrorist attack. The secretary of defense told the president it was a terrorist attack.

Again, how could Susan Rice tell the nation, there's no evidence of an Al Qaeda terrorist attack, it was a protest caused by video, when the survivors were being interviewed on the 15th, the 16th and 17th of September? She is on television on the 16th of September being definitive about no terrorist attacks, when every survivor said there was no protest.

Clearly, they were trying to politically shape the events in Benghazi, because it's seven weeks before an election, and this will catch up with him eventually because they're misleading us and the president is still misleading us.

You would have to suspend disbelief, as someone famously said, to believe what the president said to Bill O'Reilly.

CAVUTO: All right. Now, let's talk about Hillary Clinton, who has since said that it's her biggest regret, the Benghazi incident.


CAVUTO: And I'm wondering if it will also come back to her -- her biggest potential embarrassment in 2016?

GRAHAM: I think -- well, one, I'm glad she is regretful. But being regretful is no substitute for accountability. Really, what the president said dishonors the service of those who died in the line of duty and is an affront to their families.

As to Hillary Clinton, Susan Rice said the reason she appeared on television on the 16th of September, five days after the attack, is because Hillary was distraught and had a tough week and she couldn't make it -- couldn't be on television.

If that is true, she should not be president of the United States. If she was unable to appear on television and talk about what happened to a consulate under her control -- Susan Rice had no authority or control over Benghazi. If that is true, if Susan Rice is telling the American people the truth, Hillary Clinton should never think about running for president, because she is not qualified.


CAVUTO: Well, the bottom line was, the administration put Susan Rice out there. They didn't put Hillary Clinton out there.

GRAHAM: Well, right.

CAVUTO: Right.

GRAHAM: But Susan Rice is giving an excuse for her being there, saying that our secretary of state just couldn't -- she couldn't do it.


GRAHAM: Well, if that's true, then she shouldn't be president. But if Susan Rice is lying about that, then why?

CAVUTO: All good points.

Senator, thank you very, very much.

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