Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel defended President Obama's handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya on Sunday.

Emanuel, appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” said that Obama "took control and he said exactly what needs to be done" following the Sept. 11 attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans.

Earlier on the program, Arizona Sen. John McCainJohn Sidney McCainGOP rushes to cut ties to Moore GOP strategist: 'There needs to be a repudiation' of Roy Moore by Republicans World leaders reach agreement on trade deal without United States: report MORE (R) McCain charged that the Obama administration's handling of the situation amounted to either a "massive cover-up" or incompetence, but Emanuel insisted the conflicting reports following the assault were simply the result of shifting intelligence.

"You have an event, a changing event, you don't have people on the ground, in a sense, with that information. The intelligence community, many different apparatuses -- from military intelligence, national security intelligence, CIA -- is assembling that information to give you the best picture, and events change," he said.

Republicans, though, have pressed the administration over the Libya attack, arguing the president waited too long to acknowledge they were carried out by a terrorist group and questioning if requests for heightened security protections by diplomats on the ground were denied in Washington. 

Emanuel went on to defend Obama's handling of foreign affairs, touting his efforts to isolate Iran over its nuclear program, the drawdown of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan as some of the president’s main foreign policy accomplishments.

"If you look across the waterfront, America's leadership has never been stronger," he said.

Republicans see the Libya attacks as providing an opening to attack the president on foreign policy, which polls show is a strength for Obama, buoyed by the mission targeting Osama bin Laden.