It's pretty pathetic when a so-called journalist can't get a basic quote right while framing a question about the Libya attacks, but David Gregory managed to do it. The misquote is at the top of the video, where Gregory claims the "president has said as recently as May of this year that al Qaeda has not had a chance to rebuild, that al Qaeda has been defeated."
Except that's not what the president said at all. In his speech in Afghanistan on May 1st, the president said this:
But over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban's momentum. We've built strong Afghan Security Forces. We devastated al Qaeda's leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set - to defeat al Qaeda, and deny it a chance to rebuild - is within reach.
Show me where he said what Gregory said. You can't, because he didn't say it. I cannot think of one single time where the president has claimed that Al Qaeda has been defeated, nor was I able to find one. What Gregory did was subtly reinforce the right wing meme that the president did a victory lap on the anniversary of Bin Laden's death with this question, and had to actually misquote what was said in order to get away with it.
Unfortunately, the question was wrapped inside a larger question about Mitt Romney's pathetic response to the attacks. Romney has said that "the president failed to level with the American people and call this a terrorist attack" because how could he call it a terrorist attack when he declared al Qaeda defeated?
That's right out of Karl Rove's playbook, that question. Plouffe understandably took offense to it, calling it "preposterous and really offensive," focusing back on the president's actual provable record. I understand why Plouffe didn't correct him, but NBC News should really make David Gregory retract the entire claim that was the underpinnings of a disingenuous question meant to echo stupid and dangerous lies and smears, like John McCain's suggestion this morning that Harry Reid doesn't care about Ambassador Stevens' death.
Related to this, the right wing has also apparently decided that attacking UN Ambassador Susan Rice (again) is their only way to distract people from the tragedy and reality of what happened in Libya, and once again, Gregory was glad to oblige.
Susan Rice has been a target of Fox News, Jake Tapper, and now David Gregory. The right wing really, really despises her, not only because she is the ambassador to the much-hated United Nations, but because Susan Rice is adamantly anti-war, which infuriates the neocons who think we should have rode into Libya on the tails of bombers and obliterated the entire landscape to hunt those nasty SOBs down. We should be doing this while ramping up the fear here at home because everyone knows fear sells, and mobilizes the right-wing base faster than you can snap your head around and widen your eyes.
Funny how no one bothers to notice that Susan Rice, as ambassador to the United Nations, has absolutely nothing to do with security at embassies, strategy regarding Al Qaeda, or anything else that's remotely related to what they're whining about. So what grounds are they using to call for her resignation? Messaging failure. She made a statement based on the intelligence she had at the time, which has since been changed.
Let's translate those words "messaging failure." I repeat, what Susan Rice failed to do was scare the hell out of everybody and put national security teams on high alert that the terrorists were coming so the wingers could stoke up the war machine and use it as a political hammer for Mitt Romney's campaign. Since she failed to play the wingers' game, they had to turn to Fox News and David Gregory for assistance, and they obliged.
In this entire segment, David Gregory echoed the right-wing memes that emanate from Fox News and spread outward like metastasized cancer. Why can't we get a better political press corps?