Notable Quotables: Pundits Mock Libya Story as 'Utterly Contrived,' 'October Mirage'

The Media Research Center is out with the latest edition of our Notable Quotables newsletter, a compilation of the most outrageous, sometimes humorous, quotes from the liberal meda. This week's lowlights: Liberal pundits insist that the unfolding details of Obama's incompetent handling of the September 11 attack in Benghazi is an "utterly contrived" story, an "October Mirage."

The ever-wacky Chris Matthews is even sticking with Team Obama's now discredited first response: "Everybody knows it's about the video. It's all about the video."

This week's best quotes are after the jump; you can read the entire issue at


Obama’s Libya Incompetence an “Utterly Contrived” Issue


“It’s obviously been totally politicized at this point. I lived in a civil war in Beirut for four years. These are incredibly messy situations. People don’t show up with uniforms....You can have a flash mob turned into a planned thing. You can have planned people inside of a flash mob. To me, this is an utterly contrived story in the sense that, ‘this is the end of,’ you know, ‘Obama’s foreign policy.’”
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman on NBC’s Meet the Press, October 21.

“This business about the, you know, the Libya consulate has been like the October Mirage — it really isn’t an issue. And so, once again, tomorrow, Obama is going to have a very strong position because his foreign policy has been largely successful in terms of substance.”
Time’s Joe Klein on CBS’s Face the Nation, October 21.


Poor Obama Just a Victim of Sloppy Intelligence


“Mr. President, since we’ve been airborne, a person or persons of interest picked up in Tunisia in connection with Benghazi. The question becomes, have you been happy with the intelligence, especially in our post 9-11 world? The assessment of your intelligence community, as we stand here, is that it still was a spontaneous terrorist attack, and were you happy with what you were able to learn as this unfolded? It went on for several hours.”
— The only question about the September 11 attack in Benghazi posed by Brian Williams to President Obama in a lengthy interview shown on NBC’s Rock Center, October 25. [MP3 audio (0:55)]


Chris Still Won’t Drop Discredited “Video” Story


Chris Matthews, talking to a crowd waiting for debate: “Okay, Romney. One more Romney. Romney.”
Romney voter, explaining his support: “Romney. He doesn’t cover up scandals in the Middle East.”
Matthews: “What was the scandal that was covered up?”
Romney voter: “Benghazi.”
Matthews: “What was the scandal?”
Romney voter: “Well, I mean-”
Matthews, raising his voice: “Get to it, nail it, what was the scandal?!”
Romney voter: “He said it was the video. It was not about the video.”
Matthews: “Yeah, it was about the video. Read the newspaper. Thank you. Everybody knows it’s about the video. It’s all about the video. Thank you very much.”
— MSNBC’s Hardball, October 22, talking about the Obama administration’s initial claims that the Benghazi attack was the result of a “spontaneous” demonstration against an anti-Muslim video shown on YouTube. Twelve days earlier, on October 10, the State Department acknowledged there was no protest the night of the attack.

Crowley Criticism Shows Conservatives Are Losers


“You know the Republicans believe they lost the debate last night when they start whining about the referee, and let the record show that Candy Crowley brought honor to the whole business of moderating. She honored her profession of journalism. She did her job. You don’t have to be a Republican, Democrat or Mugwump to acknowledge she did a good job. And the fact that the Republicans are, as I say, whining about it tells you they pretty much know they lost.”
— Ex-CBS anchor Dan Rather on MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow Show, October 17.


GOP’s Pro-Life Platform Is “Almost Like Sharia”


“There’s a Grand Canyon of difference between Obama, who’s very pro-choice, and, for example, the Republican ticket this year, which would give 14th Amendment rights, whatever that means, life, liberty, and property rights, to a fetus that had just been — or rather, an egg that has just been fertilized, right after sex, if you will. And to have that notion that that would be a person under this personhood thing that Ryan’s pushing, and under the 14th Amendment rights, the platform that Romney’s running on. This is extremism!...It’s almost like Sharia. You’re saying to the country, we’re going to operate under a religious theory....”
— Chris Matthews during MSNBC’s pre-debate coverage, October 16.


Distorting Mourdock to Bash Romney


“Ms. Buchanan, does the Romney campaign believe that God intends rape?”
— Fill-in host Luke Russert to Romney advisor Bay Buchanan on MSNBC’s The Daily Rundown, October 24.


Thanks for Exposing “Vicious and Callous” GOP Plans


“If his [the House GOP] budget were ever to come to pass, then Meals on Wheels would be killed, transportation services to the disabled would be destroyed, food stamps would be eviscerated. I think many Americans would end up in soup kitchens like that. So I don’t think we should be critical. I think we should be grateful that what Mr. Ryan has shown us is exactly what will happen to people if the kind of vicious and callous budget that he would wish to impose on American people ends up coming to pass.”
— MSNBC’s Martin Bashir on NewsNation, October 16.


Romney’s Real Plan: Rich Get Richer While Poor People Die


“Mitt Romney doesn’t see dead people. But that’s only because he doesn’t want to see them; if he did, he’d have to acknowledge the ugly reality of what will happen if he and Paul Ryan get their way on health care....A literal description of their plan is that they want to expose many Americans to financial insecurity, and let some of them die, so that a handful of already wealthy people can have a higher after-tax income.”
New York Times columnist Paul Krugman, October 15.


Blame GOP Shenanigans If Romney Wins Ohio


“Ohio seems still close enough that Romney could upset and win there (keep in mind: the whole upper tier of Ohio state government is in the hands of the GOP now; in very close voting they have the power to influence what votes are counted and how...remember Ohio, Bush v. Kerry in 2004 and Florida, Bush v. Gore in 2000).”
— Dan Rather in an October 22 posting to the Facebook page for his AXS-TV show, Dan Rather Reports.

Teen Girl Forced to Watch MSNBC All Day by NPR Mom


“Before falling comatose into bed around 10:30, I probably will listen to all or part of Rachel Maddow’s show on MSNBC (on weekends, I also watch Up with Chris Hayes.) My 14-year-old daughter can rattle off the entire MSNBC line-up, so that should tell you something about our household viewing habits.”
— Maureen Corrigan, book reviewer for National Public Radio and the Washington Post, in an October 1 Atlantic Wire “What I Read” feature.

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Libya Foreign Policy 2012 Presidential NBC MSNBC Hardball Martin Bashir Dan Rather Chris Matthews