President Obama got himself in trouble last week for saying that the death of four Americans in Libya "is not optimal."
On Sunday, New York Times White House correspondent Helene Cooper said on NBC's Meet the Press, "The death of four Americans, which is why while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what's going on right now" (video follows with transcript and commentary):
HELENE COOPER, NEW YORK TIMES: I think as an American, you have to look at the, the question of embassy security is one that is definitely, you know, should be looked at. The administration has to study that. But the larger issue is the issue of the Arab spring and what's happening in this key area, a key region for American foreign policy. And that's where you're seeing in Libya, in Egypt, in Yemen and all over this region, you have new governments in place, you have democracy for the first time and the mess that comes with it.
And I think Americans need to be, I think Tom's point is excellent about the response of the Libyan people. I think in the Egypt case, you didn't see quite the same response, and I think that's very worrying for the United States and for the administration. But I think the far larger point is that we're right now in the middle of, the region is in the middle of such turmoil. And we’re not, we don't seem to be addressing it in any meaningful way. Instead, we're like, we’re talking about, you know, the death of four Americans, which is why while incredibly tragic, is something that I think is peripheral to what's going on right now.
Pat Smith, the mother of one of the Americans that died in the Benghazi raid, responded to the President's callous remarks Friday by saying, "My son is NOT very optimal...he is very dead."
I wonder how she'll feel about Cooper claiming his death is "peripheral."