Former National Security Council spokesman Tommy Vietor appeared Thursday on Fox News to downplay recently revealed emails that have revived the controversy over the 2012 attacks in Benghazi, but his exasperated use of the word "dude" has now taken on a life of its own.
In the interview, Fox host Bret Baier repeatedly pressed Vietor over his role in altering talking points for then-United Nations ambassador Susan Rice, asking the White House aide if he changed the word "attacks" to "demonstrations" in the preparation materials.
Republican critics have charged that the White House deliberately downplayed suggestions that the Benghazi, Libya, attack was terrorism to protect the president's reelection chances.
When Vietor responded that he "maybe" changed the word choice but did not "really remember," an incredulous Baier asked, "You don't remember?"
"Dude, this was two years ago," Vietor replied. "We're still talking about the most mundane thing."
"Dude, it's what everybody is talking about," Baier shot back.
"We're talking about the process of editing talking points," Vietor responded. "That's what bureaucrats do all day long. Your producers edit scripts multiple times."
Vietor's "dude" comment has subsequently gone viral, with conservative commenters blasting him on social media.
Vietor, for his part, took the incident in stride, poking fun of himself on Twitter.
No doubt that @BretBaier is a good dude. Thanks for having me on.— Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) May 1, 2014
He later said his comment was not intended to be dismissive of the attacks in Benghazi, where four Americans — including U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens — lost their lives.
"I'm clearly saying I don't remember who edited a document two years ago. Not dismissing the attacks," Vietor tweeted.
"I was referencing my recollection of specific edits to a document. Not writing off the attack," he added.
He also pushed back at Walsh, a former Illinois congressman, calling it "an honor to be attack[ed] by a guy named one of the most corrupt people in Congress."