GOP demands answers on Benghazi; hit not a priority on stump

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However, outside an Obama rally in Cincinnati on Sunday night, about 50 people carried signs denouncing Mr. Obama’s handling of Benghazi and started jeering the crowd of the president’s supporters filing into the gym where the president was scheduled to speak. The Obama supporters responded, by chanting back, “four more years.”

Several signs declared, “You let them die” and “Cover-up-in-chief.” Still another spelled out Benghazi in big red letters with each person carrying a letter, and another said, “Help Denied. Ambassador died. Obama lied.”

In the face of such criticisms, Mr. Obama continues to cite his national security credentials on the campaign trail, including saying he has hurt al Qaeda.

“Because of the service and sacrifice of our brave men and women in uniform — a whole lot of them from here in New Hampshire — the war in Iraq is over,” the president said while campaigning this past weekend. “The war in Afghanistan is coming to a close. Al Qaeda is on the run. Osama bin Laden is dead.”

Some Republicans challenge that claim, saying that al Qaeda-backed groups are regrouping in 10 or more countries. Indeed, some reports have tied the Libya assault to an al Qaeda-allied group, Ansar al-Sharia.

A group of 500 retired generals and admirals is pushing back against Mr. Obama’s claims on national security in an ad they have bought in Monday’s editions of The Washington Times.

“We, the undersigned, proudly support Governor Mitt Romney as our nation’s next president and commander-in-chief,” the ad says, listing the hundreds of names of the retired officers.

Almost none of the major pollsters asked people about Benghazi late in the campaign, but a Fox News survey signaled some bad news for Mr. Obama.

The poll of likely voters, released Wednesday, showed they have decided opinions about what happened in Benghazi, but the poll did not include a question on whether the incident would affect their vote on Election Day.

On the specific matter of Benghazi, the poll found that Americans are divided, with 44 percent thinking the administration tried to mislead Americans about what happened there and 47 percent disagreeing. As expected, Republicans are much more likely be critical than Democrats, but more significant is the figure showing independent voters believing the administration tried to mislead Americans by a 49 percent to 42 percent margin.

Despite the Benghazi issue, the Fox News survey found Mr. Obama still attracting 49 percent approval of his handling of foreign policy, compared with 44 percent who disapprove.

Valerie Richardson contributed to this report.

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