CNBC's Harwood: Benghazi Scandal Being 'Prolonged' Because of Campaign 'Bitterness'

Appearing on Saturday's NBC Today, CNBC chief Washington correspondent John Harwood completely dismissed the scandal surrounding the Benghazi terrorist attack as merely leftover campaign politics: "...what we're seeing in the Petraeus scandal and the Benghazi issue being prolonged is an extension of some of the conflict and the bitterness that we had during the election campaign." [Listen to the audio or watch the video after the jump]

Harwood predicted the whole controversy would just go away: "I'm not sure what the resolution of that is going to be. I think ultimately that energy is going to get spent and lawmakers are going to turn to the real crisis that is looming over the American economy, which is the fiscal cliff..."

On Sunday's Today, co-host Lester Holt cited former CIA Director David Petraeus testifying before Congress about the attack and immediately wondered if it helped President Obama: "...testifying that they were aware this was a terrorist attack from the get-go. Did his – did his testimony leave the White House any plausible deniability about how it characterized that attack?" Meet the Press moderator David Gregory replied: "Well, you know, it may have."

Shouldn't journalists be interested in the truth rather than political posturing and "plausible deniability"?


Here is a transcript of Harwood's November 17 analysis:

7:11AM ET

ERICA HILL: John Harwood is CNBC's chief Washington correspondent. John, good morning.

JOHN HARWOOD: Good morning, Erica.

HILL: As we look at everything that's happening in Washington, you look at this hearing, two parties, as we heard, two very different takes on that testimony yesterday. Is anyone going to be satisfied here?

JOHN HARWOOD: I don't think so. I think this is – what we're seeing in the Petraeus scandal and the Benghazi issue being prolonged is an extension of some of the conflict and the bitterness that we had during the election campaign. I'm not sure what the resolution of that is going to be. I think ultimately that energy is going to get spent and lawmakers are going to turn to the real crisis that is looming over the American economy, which is the fiscal cliff and the potential that we could go back into recession if that's not resolved.

(...)

Here is a transcript of Holt's November 18 exchange with Gregory:

8:07AM ET

(...)

LESTER HOLT: Yeah, and speaking of the Middle East, the investigation into the early characterizations of the September 11 attack on the embassy – or the consulate in Benghazi, took a new turn this past week. As you know, David Petraeus, the former CIA director, testifying that they were aware this was a terrorist attack from the get-go. Did his – did his testimony leave the White House any plausible deniability about how it characterized that attack?

DAVID GREGORY: Well, you know, it may have, because at the time of the attack, in the immediate aftermath, the intelligence community was saying something very similar to what Susan Rice said on Meet the Press and other programs five days later. And this is the key question, which is, did they fail to call it what it was? And that is a terror attack on an anniversary of 9/11. And if so, why? I mean, I think resolving that is still the key question, but it only gets us to the bigger question, Lester, which is what about America's footprint on the ground in a country like Libya? That needs so much rebuilding at a time when the United States does not want to be responsible for all of that security and all of that rebuilding.

(...)

Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen
Kyle Drennen is a News Analyst for MRC