NEW YORK – President Obama said Monday “there’s no doubt” that the attack on a U.S. Consulate in Libya earlier this month “wasn’t just a mob action.”
In an interview with ABC’s "The View," Obama — who is in New York to address the United Nations General Assembly — was asked if the Benghazi assault was indeed terrorism.
"There's no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn't just a mob action,” Obama said. “What's clear is that, around the world, there are still a lot of threats out there.”
“They want opportunity, kids want an education, they want jobs, they want peace,” he said.
He also suggested that the best response to an inflammatory anti-Islam video posted online originally blamed for the attacks was to simply ignore it.
"The best way to marginalize that kind of speech is to ignore it. You don't make yourself bigger by putting other people down," Obama said.
The president's rival, Mitt Romney, spent much of Monday criticizing Obama's approach to foreign affairs.
"We’re at the mercy of events rather than shaping the events in the Middle East," Romney told ABC News. "And the president doesn’t have time to actually spend time with leaders of these nations, particularly Bibi Netanyahu, I find that very troubling. And a suggestion that the course America is on is not the right course in the Middle East."
Republicans have argued that Obama should have taken time to meet with world leaders, rather than his appearance on the talk show.
On Monday, White House press secretary Jay Carney dismissed criticism of the president's schedule.
"The president has had extensive conversations with leaders in the region where there has been unrest of late, he will continue to have those conversations," he said. "He will see leaders from a variety of regions tonight at a reception in New York as part of the General Assembly and will deliver very important remarks tomorrow."
During the interview, the conservative-leaning co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asked Obama about his remarks last week when he said he couldn’t change Washington from the inside.
“You are Washington, you’re about as inside as it gets,” Hasselbeck told Obama.
But Obama once again sought to explain himself, as he has at campaign stops all week.
"The idea was you can't change Washington just from the inside; you've got to mobilize the American people,” he said. “When ordinary people are engaged and paying attention, that's when Congress responds. We can't play just an inside game."
There may have been some inside politics at play with Obama's appearance on the show, however, set to air Tuesday. In the secretly taped video from a fundraiser in May that was released earlier this month, Romney — in addition to his now infamous "47 percent" comment — also discussed the hosts of the show.
Romney said appearing on the show held a "high risk because of the five women on it, only one is conservative and four are sharp-tongued and not conservative."