Vice President Joe Biden pledged a full investigation Thursday into the Libya attack that killed Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans, but accused Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan of rushing to politicize the incident.
“I can make absolutely two commitments,” Biden said during the vice presidential debate in Kentucky. First, that “we will find and bring to justice the men who did this” and second, that whatever the government finds went wrong, they’ll “make clear to the American public that whatever mistakes were made will not be made again.”
But he accused Romney, who claimed the night of the attacks that Obama’s response was to “sympathize” with terrorists, of deliberately exploiting the attacks for political gain.
Ryan said, “on that same day the Obama administration had the exact same position,” referring to a statement by the U.S. embassy in in Cairo before any attacks occurred that the State Department later disavowed. Romney inaccurately suggested at the time that the embassy statement either referred to the Libya attacks or was issued after riots at the Cairo embassy.
“Usually, when there’s a crisis, we pull together as a nation … the governor was holding a press conference,” Biden said.
But Ryan and moderator Martha Raddatz each pressed Biden over initial statements from the administration suggesting the attack was connected to protests over an anti-Muslim film posted to YouTube. The Libya attack has since been confirmed by the federal government to be part of a pre-planned terrorist plot.
“Look, if we’re hit by terrorists we’re going to call it for what it is: a terrorist attack,” Ryan said.