Obama On American Deaths In Libya: 'Not Optimal'

Obama sad frown

Photo: AP Photo/M. Spencer Green

President Barack Obama is already facing an online backlash over remarks he made during an interview with Jon Stewart Thursday, when he told The Daily Show host that the death of four Americans in the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya last month was “not optimal.”The remark was in response to Stewart’s suggestion that the administration’s public handling of the attacks was not “optimal.” 

Per the White House pool report: 

Stewart asked about Libya and the administration’s apparently confused response. “We weren’t confused about the fact that four Americans were killed,” POTUS said. “We weren’t confused about that. No one is more interested in figuring this out than I am.”

POTUS said the administration’s task was to “get all the facts, figure out what went wrong and make sure that it doesn’t happen again.” He continued that with “every piece of information we got…the picture eventually gets fully filled in.”

After Stewart suggested that the presentation of information to the American people wasn’t “optimal,” POTUS went on: “Here’s what I’ll say: if four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. And we’re going to fix it.” He went onto say that if there is a “screw up” then “you fix it.”

The interview, which was taped in New York this afternoon, will air during Thursday night’s show on Comedy Central.


Here’s the transcript of the question, per White House pooler Mike Memoli: 

Jon Stewart: “Is part of the investigation helping the communication between these divisions? Not just what happened in Benghazi, but what happened within. Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.” 

POTUS: “Here’s what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal. We’re going to fix it. All of it. And what happens, during the course of a presidency, is that the government is a big operation and any given time something screws up. And you make sure that you find out what’s broken and you fix it. Whatever else I have done throughout the course of my presidency the one thing that I’ve been absolutely clear about is that America’s security comes, and the American people need to know exactly how I make decisions when it comes to war, peace, security, and protecting Americans. And they will continue to get that over the next four years of my presidency.”

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