Report: Slain official’s father: Libya should not be ‘campaign issue’

Slain U.S. Ambassador Chris Stevens’s father said in an interview that the death of his son should not be used as a “campaign issue” in the race between President Obama and Mitt Romney. 

“It would really be abhorrent to make this into a campaign issue,” said Jan Stevens in an interview with Bloomberg published on Sunday.

The Romney campaign and Republican lawmakers have sharply criticized Obama for his administration’s response to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya that resulted in the death of Stevens and three other American citizens. 

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Republicans say the attack underscores that the U.S faces a more dangerous world and charge the Obama administration with downplaying the threat from post-Arab Spring governments in the Middle East.

A House hearing last week also raised questions about whether the administration denied requests for additional security ahead of the deadly attack.

But Jan Stevens cautioned the presidential candidates to wait for answers before casting blame.

“The security matters are being adequately investigated,” Stevens said. “We don’t pretend to be experts in security. It has to be objectively examined. That’s where it belongs. It does not belong in the campaign arena.” 

The fight over the Libya attacks intensified on Thursday when Vice President Joe Biden said at his debate with Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) that the White House was unaware of requests for added security. 

“We weren’t told they wanted more security. We did not know they wanted more security there,” Biden had said.

Romney said Biden’s remarks contracted the testimony of State Department officials who told the House they had requested heightened security measures.

"The vice president directly contradicted the sworn testimony of State Department officials," Romney said at a rally in Richmond, Va. on Friday. "He's doubling down on denial, and we need to understand exactly what happened instead of just brush things aside."

But on Sunday, senior Obama campaign adviser David Axelrod sought to clarify the matter, saying that Biden had meant that he and Obama had not been told of the security requests made to the State Department.

Republicans, though, have kept up their criticism of the incident, with Romney advisor Ed Gillespie saying during an interview on CNN that there were “inconsistencies” in the administration’s account.

“What we're saying is that, you know, as Americans, we deserve to know what really happened going into this attack,” Gillespie said.


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