Dear Mr. Ladka, Did the President Answer Your Question? UPDATE Hot Air and WaPo Discuss Ladka’s Answer
Commentary afterwards suggested that your question was moot because the hearings on Capitol Hill had State Department officials claim that the requests were denied by them because they were not justified. Clearly your question was designed to have the President in his capacity as Chief Executive give his answer. To our ears, he did not. He did not once mention the exchange between the officials in Libya and in Washington regarding enhanced security. Are we to believe that, with the President’s claim that he was the night of the attack on the phone with all relevant officials and that he has personally directed that these same officials find out what happened, he still does not know about the rejected requests for enhanced security just prior to the attack? I did not see your question as a gotcha attempt. I saw it as stemming from a group of citizens very concerned about the death of their fellow citizens when by all counts it could have been avoided had the Administration acted wisely. I see it as a question motivated by a desire to know exactly why the security measures were not taken and to know it from the man who is the final word on executive action in this country. The President missed an opportunity to tell you, to tell us, the citizens, about the decisions that led up to this tragedy. In our view he would have come across as a human and a leader had he told us all the answer to your question.
Thank you for your question.
UPDATE: Hot Air discusses The Washington Post’s interview with Ladka here: http://hotair.com/archives/2012/10/17/libya-questioner-at-debate-obama-didnt-really-answer-what-i-asked-him/ The short story is that Ladka did not think that the President had answered his question, however, after the debate the President spoke with Ladka privately and tried to do three things (1) persuade Ladka that when he said “acts of terror” the next day in the Rosed Garden he meant to include Benghazi (whatever that means), (2) persuade him that the Benghazi bungled messaging was really because they were trying to match real time intelligence (doesn’t seem true based on reports that intel knew early on it was an organized attack) and (3) that he could not reveal the names of the State Department officials who were involved in the Benghazi security request debacle (Ladka didn’t need names specifically, but general titles would have sufficed I am sure). In any event, Ladka did say he appreciated the President’s private answer a lot more than the public one. Why do we have a president that can’t shoot straight in public?