Reid: ‘They’re Hyperventilating about Benghazi’

By Melanie Arter | May 15, 2013 | 4:55 PM EDT

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) (AP Photo)

( – Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) told reporters Tuesday that Republicans are “hyperventilating about Benghazi,” and "President Obama was absolutely right to call this a sideshow."

“They’re hyperventilating about Benghazi. President Obama was absolutely right to call this a sideshow. This is about smear politics and nothing else,” Reid said.

As previously reported on Monday, Obama called the congressional probe of the Benghazi attack a “political circus” and a “sideshow,” adding that there’s “no there, there.”

If the player does not load, please check that you are running the latest version of Adobe Flash Player.

The controversy over talking points was politically motivated, Obama said.

Obama and administration officials had claimed the Benghazi terrorist attack that claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens, in an attack on the U.S. consulate on Sept. 11, 2012, was sparked by a spontaneous protest to a YouTube video, with U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice making that case on five Sunday morning news shows.

Last week, the talking points were reportedly found to be edited 12 times.

“The whole issue of talking points, frankly, throughout this process has been a sideshow,” Obama said. “What we have been very clear about throughout was that immediately after this event happened; we were not clear who exactly carried it out, how it had occurred, what the motivations were.”

Reid accused Republicans of “months and months” of holding up funding for securing U.S. embassies.

“Where was the Republicans’ upstanding outrage on this? Well earlier this year, they didn’t say a word when Republicans held up for months and months security funding out of our embassies. They’re still doing this. We have 1,000 Marines that we’re trying to fund. That’s being held up, and these Marines would go to our embassies,” Reid said.

“Again and again, Republicans have blocked, opposed or reduced embassy security funding, and they continue to support the sequester, which would further reduce embassy security funding. So again, where is their outrage on this?” he added.

Reid asked where was the Republican outrage “when dozens of diplomatic posts were attacked under President Bush – 64 to be exact.”

Reid accused the GOP of being more concerned with giving President Barack Obama “a black eye and taking shots at Secretary Clinton than actually tracking down the people who performed these outrageous acts of terrorism and bringing them to justice.”

“Instead of securing our diplomatic posts, Republicans want to debate who changed talking points,” he said.

Reid accused House Speaker John Boehner of being “obsessed” with Benghazi.

“If he wants to continue showing the Republicans are ignoring the middle class in order to roil up the tea party base, that’s his choice, ‘cause that’s what’s happened, but it’s wrong, and it’s the wrong choice for our economy and the interests of middle-class Americans,” Reid said.