Just a quick post while I get ready to watch the debate.
The more I think about what Hillary Clinton said about Benghazi the more I have to admire the Mafia-like political skills of the Clintonians.
As I noted before, Secretary Clinton has managed to get headlines announcing that she accepts "responsibility" for what happened in Benghazi without, in fact, ever saying that she accepts "responsibility" for what happened in Benghazi. While visiting Peru, on the eve of the great debate, she drops the "bomb," a very smart bomb, at that, saying that she has responsibility for the security of State's 60,000 employees, and that the President and the Vice President would not be involved in the decisions taken by her subordinates on security. She, therefore, simultaneously said that she has the responsibility, not the President, and put the blame for any bad decisions on career security professionals. She never said what she did when learning of the attack--which went on for six hours--or whether she thought it worthwhile to call the President and request a rescue effort. Nobody, in fact, has mentioned the President as a major or even minor player in the course of this long and violent attack even when, as first acknowledged by Diplomatic Security's Charlene Lamb (here and here) and now by the Secretary, the State Department was following the attack in real time.
Her "accepting" of responsibility does not extend to resigning or to anything else tangible. It just consists of words. They, however, are words that put Obama in a bind. Does he let his Secretary of State take "responsibility," thereby tacitly admitting that he does not have responsibility for the nation's foreign affairs? Does he, instead, dispute her "accepting" responsibility and assume it for himself--thereby putting the lie to what Biden said in his debate performance about the White House not knowing anything or having any control over security decisions at State? If he assumes responsibility, he must assume responsibility for his misadministration's mishandling of the aftermath: State and CIA career officers have made clear that they never concluded that the Benghazi attack was the result of a video or a demonstration gone rogue as stated by Ambassador Rice, the President, and Hillary, herself.
In sum: If he lets Hillary "accept" responsibility he has diminished even further his claim to the Presidency and reminds everyone of Hillary's very effective 2008 anti-Obama ad about the call at 3 am. He appears a small man, hiding behind a courageous woman. If he accepts responsibility, he has a lot of explaining to do and even the docile media will not be able to let that go.
The one factor that might undermine Hillary Clinton's otherwise masterful "Chicago Gambit" move is the X-factor known as the State and CIA career bureaucracy. Those folks are increasingly uneasy as the politicians seek to blame them for the fiasco. Those bureaucracies are not under the control of either Obama or Clinton; they play their own games of chess on their own boards and with their own rules.