Mitt Romney says that the Benghazi talking points had no bearing on the outcome of the 2012 presidential election. He made this remark in response to a question by an inquisitive Jay Leno.
Romney added that he doesn’t spend a lot of time reflecting on what could have been done differently during his campaign. “I don’t go back and look at: ‘Gee, if this would have happened differently, could I have won?’” Romney explained.
For Romney’s sake, I hope he has been able to move beyond that sort of thinking. I don’t imagine it’s easy to do so.
As for Benghazi, it is clearly in Romney’s interest to talk down the impact Benghazi could have made. Why? Because Romney made a hash out his justified attempt to use the issue during the second debate.
It wasn’t entirely Romney’s fault; moderator Candy Crowley disgraced herself by vouching for President Obama’s misleading statements on the subject. But there’s no getting around the fact that Romney didn’t have the necessary command of the facts to refute Obama’s contention that he called the attacks terrorism. And Romney erred, in my opinion, by steering clear of Benghazi in the final debate.
Moreover, quite apart from Romney’s performance, it is not in his interest to whine about the talking points at this late date. Doing so, especially on Leno’s show, would only make him look like a bad loser.
Whether intentionally or not, Leno was asking a win-win question from the Obama perspective. Either Romney would admit that the talking points controversy is irrelevant to Obama’s victory or Romney would cast himself in a bad light. Romney took the shrewder, and higher, road.
Romney also happens to be right. As John has said, Benghazi could not have changed the outcome of the 2012 election. But we didn’t know this at the time, and I wish Romney had made a better run at making it an issue.