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Obama: Focusing on Benghazi

“State Department documents obtained by NBC News list 230 separate security incidents in Libya over 11 months, indicating that the environment was fragile,” NBC’s Andrea Mitchell reported on NBC Nightly News.

Reuters: “U.S. State Department officials on Tuesday offered their most detailed description yet of the dramatic events in Benghazi that led to the death of a U.S. ambassador, but they backed away from earlier assertions that the events were triggered by protests against an anti-Islam video. The officials were briefing reporters on the eve of a congressional hearing into on the attack last month, which is expected to focus on security missteps by the department.”

The AP adds, “Senior State Department officials on Tuesday revealed for the first time certain details of last month's tragedy in the former Libyan rebel stronghold, such as the efforts of a quick reaction force that rushed onto the scene and led the evacuation in a fierce gun battle that continued into the streets. The briefing was provided a day before department officials were to testify to a House committee about the most serious attack on a U.S. diplomatic installation since al-Qaida bombed the U.S. embassies inKenya and Tanzania 14 years ago. The account answers some questions and leaves others unanswered. Chief among them is why for several days the Obama administration said the assault stemmed from a protest against an American-made Internet video ridiculing Islam, and whether the consulate had adequate security.”

“The fatal attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Libya last month has become a test of Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton’s leadership and a threat to her much-admired legacy as America’s top diplomat just a few months before she plans to step down,” the Washington Post writes. “Clinton was among the first Obama administration officials to publicly condemn the attack and mourn the deaths of Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and three other Americans. But as the State Department has weathered Republican-led criticism that it misread warning signs before the Sept. 11 attack, Clinton has been far less visible.”

The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent: “[Democratic pollster Stan] Greenberg told me in an interview that his new research persuaded him that Mitt Romney beat Obama in the debate for a simple reason. Unmarried women — a critical piece of Obama’s coalition — did not hear Obama telling him how they would make their lives better. By contrast, they did hear Romney telling them he’d improve their lives.  Greenberg says the research also indicates a clear route to winning reelection, however. ‘This is a major turning point and an opportunity for the president,’ he says.”

“President Obama will attend his last fundraiser of the 2012 campaign Thursday and then shift into top gear following his disastrous recent debate performance that vaporized his polling lead over challenger Mitt Romney,” The Hill writes. “With momentum in the race flipping to the Republican, sources have told The Hill the president will spend the rest of the campaign at swing-state rallies or preparing for the next two debates instead of attending more private fundraisers.”

“The owners of the children’s show ‘Sesame Street’ have asked the Obama campaign to pull down an ad released Tuesday that shows an image of Big Bird and mocks Republican nominee Mitt Romney for holding up the popular children’s character as a symbol of unnecessary government spending,” the Wall Street Journal writes, adding, “Obama campaign spokesman Ben LaBolt said the request was under review.”

Romney on the Big Bird attack: "You have to scratch your head when the president spends the last week talking about saving Big Bird. I actually think we need to have a president who talks about saving the American people and saving good jobs."