White House Downplays Obama's Campaigning on Day After U.S. Was Attacked Overseas

September 13, 2012 - 6:50 AM

Obama in Aurora

President Barack Obama smiles while being greeted by supporters upon arrival at Buckley Air Force Base in Aurora, Colo., Wednesday, Sept. 12, 2012. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)

(Update: The White House posted a transcript of Obama's campaign speech in Las Vegas as well as Wednesday's press briefing at mid-morning Thursday.)

(CNSNews.com) - Obama’s pitch for re-election went on as scheduled Wednesday, despite the attacks on U.S. citizens and property in Libya and Egypt on Tuesday -- the anniversary of the 9-11 terror attacks.

But in a departure from the norm, the White House website did not immediately post a transcript of President Obama's remarks at Wednesday's campaign rally in Las Vegas. (The transcript eventually was posted here.)

The White House normally posts transcripts of campaign remarks and daily press briefings on its website, but those from Wednesday were missing as of Thursday morning. The president’s Wednesday-morning Rose Garden statement on the attack in Benghazi was featured, however.

According to the Washington Post, Obama was "visibly weary" when he appeared before the crowd in Las Vegas -- "and seeming to struggle to display the usual energy and sharpness of his campaign appearances."

The Associated Press reported that the Las Vegas crowd of 8,000 "cheered 'four more years' when he took the stage, but Obama turned serious and mentioned the slaying of the U.S. ambassador to Libya and three other Americans in an attack on a U.S. consulate in Benghazi."

Obama said he had a message for the rest of the world: "No act of terror will dim the light of the values that we proudly shine on the rest of the world, and no act of violence will shake the resolve of the United States of America."

CBS News reported that Obama stood behind a lectern bearing the presidential seal rather than a campaign sign.

"The world needs us," the network quoted Obama as saying. "We are the one indispensable power in the world." Obama also promised that the U.S. will be "relentless in our pursuit of those who attacked us yesterday."

The decision to go ahead with a campaign trip, rather than staying at the White House to work on a foreign policy crisis, put Obama's team on the defensive:

CBS quoted Obama campaign press secretary Jen Psaki as telling reporters that Wednesday would not be "a day of politics as usual" -- even though the campaigning went on as scheduled.

Psaki was quoted as saying that President Obama's remarks at the Las Vegas rally would reflect “‘the tone’ of what happened in Libya."

The Associated Press noted that Obama "spent just a few hours” in Las Vegas, before flying to Colorado for more campaigning on Thursday.

Obama eventually transitioned from the troubled events of Tuesday into what the AP called his "standard stump speech," in which he called for higher taxes on the wealthy. "I refuse to ask middle class families like yours to pay more, so millionaires and billionaires can pay less," said the president.

Obama, the AP said, also repeated his “veiled reference to GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, saying that when we hear folks say this nation is in decline, ‘they are dead wrong.’"

Obama vowed that he "will never turn Medicare into a voucher," and he said "we'll keep the promise of Social Security," which is on track to go broke.

After campaigning, Obama called the leaders of Egypt and Libya Wednesday night, the White House said.

Obama thanked Mohammed Magarief, the leader of Libya’s National Assembly, "for the cooperation we have received from the Libyan government and people in responding to this outrageous attack.”

And in his conversation with Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi, Obama "underscored the importance of Egypt following through on its commitment to cooperate with the United States in securing U.S. diplomatic facilities and personnel,” the White House said. Obama and Morsi reviewed "the strategic partnership between the United States and Egypt,” the White House said.

And how's that strategic partnership going? Earlier on Wednesday, Obama told Telemundo, "I don't think that we would consider them (Egypt) an ally, but we don't consider them an enemy."