Benghazi and the Swing States

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Sun, 2012-10-28 12:32 -- John Batchelor
Sunday, October 28, 2012

 

The national likely-voter polls continue to show a distinct advantage toward Mitt Romney, while the state polls of critical swing states, OH, VA, NH, show strength for POTUS.  What can explain this disconnect?  Am told that the last week will see the independents decide the race in OH as they always do, choosing all the successful candidates in gubernatorial and presidential races over the last cycles.  What can move the independents?  There is a suggestion in the approval/disapproval that there is more than the economy making an impression on the public.  

Benghazi in Real Time.

The strange silence of the White House and POTUS on the Benghazi tragedy also looks to create conditions that can change the direction of the contest.  Voices of the uniforms and the retired military are getting louder (see above) about the events of September 11, 2012.   There are unconfirmed reports that gunships, special forces, warplanes, Navy elements, were in place and ready to launch on Benghazi during the gunfight and yet were restrained (see below)?  There are unconfirmed reports that a great number of situation rooms were able to watch the Benghazi gunfight in real time, because there were one or two surveillance drones over Benghazi?  Eli Lake of Newsweek reports that there are video records from inside the residence and in the compound of the attackers and the siege.  When do we see the video evidence of the assault teams?  AP reports that there were 150 attackers in military gear and riding in trucks labeled "Ansar al Shariah."  Where is the evidence of this?  There are unconfirmed reports that SecDef Panetta has blocked the testimony to Congress by the four uniform commanders on station that day of the attack, why?  There are unconfirmed reports that AFRICOM General Ham was suddenly relieved of duty that he began March 2011, because he refused to obey orders from the White House during the Benghazi crisis.  What we have so far is the statement by SecDef Panetta that the sitrep on September 11 was "too confusing" to act.  We have no evidence of this confusion, nor do we have multiple voices from the dozens in the situation rooms for those hours whose job was to analyze the chaos.  We do have timelines of the attack, but there is no confirmation of the reports that the second attack on the CIA "annex" was an ambush of the rescue forces as it arrived from the residence with the retreating survivors -- and without Ambassador Chris Stevens (see map.)

Benghazi and the Swing States.

Will the Obama administration's puzzling and suspicious response to the Benghazi questions change the decision-making by the independent voters in OH, VA, NH, CO in these last hours of the campaign?  Conventional wisdom argues that no one votes foreign policy.  Conventional wisdom argues that the last, few undecided voters in America will vote for their pocketbooks.  The challenge to all this wisdom is the theme of trust.  Can you trust Candidate Obama over and against trusting Candidate Romney?  The Benghazi mystery does present a problem of trust.  Is it sufficient to change votes?  Unknown.  Is it sufficient to confirm an undecided voter in a direction away from the status quo ante?  Unknown.  It is certainly strong enough to make the questions continue for the next nine days.  And make POTUS and VPOTUS avoid all unscripted interviews that are not about a storm named Sandy.