While challenging former New York City mayor Rudy Giuliani during an interview Monday morning, CNN’s Soledad O’Brien got Giuliani to admit to framing discussion of the fatal attack on a U.S. consulate for political gain.
Giuliani, a surrogate for Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney, accused President Barack Obama’s administration of covering up the Sept. 11 attack on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, that killed four people, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
“Calling something a cover up kind of takes it a step further, don’t you think?” O’Brien asked.
Giuliani’s remarks are part of a recent pattern of cover-up accusations from him; Think Progress reported that Giuliani also urged Romney to exploit the situation in a separate interview on Fox News Monday.
“The White House has fumbled this — whether it’s a deliberate cover-up or they’re making it look like a cover-up they have fumbled the ball four or five times here,” Giuliani told O’Brien and her panel. “Excuse me if being the fact that I’m a Republican, I don’t give them as you do, all the benefit of the doubt.”
Giuliani also accused O’Brien of bias toward Obama, asking aloud, “Am I debating with the president’s campaign?” when she challenged his version of the government’s handling of the assault, which, he said, had the president directly linking the attack to unrest over the anti-Islam short film “Innocence of Muslims.”
“He did not specifically say, ‘This was due to a movie,’” O’Brien said, before motioning backstage. “Miguel, why don’t you pull all these transcripts for me? We have them all in the back room, we can just pull them out.”
The U.S. State Department has conceded that some of the people involved in the fatal attack “were linked to groups affiliated with, or sympathetic to Al-Qaeda.” Secretary of State Hilary Clinton said last week she has set up a review board to determine whether the facility was properly secured.
Sunday, Steven’s father, Jan, denounced the use of the ambassador’s death as a political talking point.
Watch video of O’Brien’s exchange with Giuliani, posted Monday by Think Progress, below.