In the weeks prior to the election, the administration’s focus on the video helped the established media ignore the growing problems with his Arab-region outreach policy, despite expanding GOP criticism.
Under his outreach policy, begun in 2009, Obama has helped Islamist groups gain power in Egypt, Libya and Tunisia.
The intention was to create a non-violent political alternative to al-Qaida and other jihadi groups.
But the Islamist political parties share many of the same ideological goals as the jihadi groups, and they frequently cooperate on various issues.
For example, Gaza’s Hamas terror group is an affiliate of the Egypt-based Muslim Brotherhood, whose members now control the country’s elected parliament. On Nov. 16, leader of both groups met in Gaza to denounce Israel’s effort to defend itself from Hamas’s rocket attacks on Israeli civilians.
Similarly, the brother of al-Qaida’s current leader, Ayman al-Zawahiri, is a prominent Islamist leader in Cairo, and he helped organize the demonstration outside the U.S. embassy in Egypt on Sept. 11, 2012.
Despite the administration’s effort to focus on the video, the jihadi issue spilled into the U.S. election.
In the second presidential debate, for example, Obama denied any attempt to downplay the jihadis’ role in the Benghazi attack. Republican nominee Mitt Romney quickly sought to debunk that denial, but was successfully derailed by the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley.
To shield the president, Democratic officials are trying to blame the CIA for misleading top officials, and are using Rice to help.
For GOP leaders “to go after the U.N. ambassador, who had nothing to do with Benghazi, and was simply making a presentation based on intelligence that she had received, and to besmirch her reputation, is outrageous,” Obama declared at a Nov. 14 press conference in the White House.