Tonight Anderson spoke with Fareed Zakaria and Fran Townsend discussing the timing and motivation behind Secretary Clinton telling CNN's Elise Labott that she takes responsibility for the attacks in Benghazi, Libya that left four Americans dead, including Ambassador Stevens.
From Elise Labott, reporting from Lima, Peru on CNN's OutFront
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the bucks stops with her when it comes to who is blame for a deadly assault on the U.S. diplomatic mission in Benghazi.
"I take responsibility" for what happened on September 11, Clinton said in an interview with CNN's Elise Labott soon after arriving in Lima, Peru for a visit. The interview, one of a series given to U.S. television networks Monday night, were the first she has given about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi.
Clinton insisted President Barack Obama and Vice President Joe Biden are not involved in security decisions, Clinton said.
"I want to avoid some kind of political gotcha," she added, noting that it is close to the election.
The attack killed Chris Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other Americans at the consulate.
The Obama administration has been heavily criticized after Vice President Joe Biden said during last week's vice presidential debate that the White House did not know of requests to enhance security at Benghazi, contradicting testimony by State Department employees that requests had been made and rejected. Following the debate, the White House said the vice president did not know of the requests because they were handled, as is the practice, by the State Department.
Clinton also sought to downplay the criticism that administration officials continued to say the attack was a spontaneous product of a protest over an anti-Muslim film, a theory that has since been discarded.
In the wake of an attack, there is always "confusion," Clinton said. But the information has since changed, Clinton said in the interview.
The secretary of state also described the desperate scene in the State Department during the hours of the attack on the night of September 10. It was an "intense, long ordeal" as staff tried to find out what had happened.
Clinton said her mission now is to make sure such an attack will never happen again – but also that diplomacy, even in dangerous areas like Benghazi, is not stopped.
"We can't not engage," she said. "We cannot retreat."
Today on CNN’s The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, Candy Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent and anchor who will moderate Tuesday’s town hall debate at Hofstra University, joined Blitzer to discuss the format of the second presidential debate and how she is preparing. A transcript from the interview is after the jump.
CNN's Wolf Blitzer explains the town hall format for the second presidential debate as prepared by the Presidential Debate Commission. CNN's Chief Political Correspondent Candy Crowley will moderate the debate between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney live from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.
CNN's coverage of the debate begins at 7:00pm EST on Tuesday, October 16. For more information about CNN's complete coverage visit http://CNN.com/debate.
Former Mayor Rudy Giuliani tells CNN’s Soledad O’Brien that there was a cover-up by President Obama and the administration regarding Libya consulate attack.
Giuliani says, “The cover-up of Benghazi, I mean, is startling.”
O’Brien says, “So the White House now is basically saying the State Department dropped the ball… –“
“Who put Susan Rice on?,” Giuliani asks. “The State Department or the political people? It was a political appearance on CNN. So what they’re really trying to do is they’re trying to run out the clock. They’re going to have this investigation. Investigation will be after the debate, after the election is over. So what they’re trying to do is cover-up this scandal as much as possible.”
O’Brien asks, “Calling something a cover-up kind of takes it a further step, don’t you think?”
Giuliani states, “No, it doesn’t.”
Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday mornings from 7-9am ET on CNN.