WASHINGTON--Mayor Rahm Emanuel defended President Barack Obama on Libya and praised him as a decisive leader on Sunday, after Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) again accused the President Barack Obama of either "massive cover-up or massive incompetence" over the Sept. 11 attacks where four Americans were killed.
Emanuel, Obama's former chief of staff and McCain, who ran against Obama in 2008, were guests on CBS' "Face the Nation," where they represented the Obama and Mitt Romney campaigns. Emanuel did the interview from Akron, spending the weekend in battleground Ohio stumping for Obama.
McCain, who was interviewed first, turned to Obama's handling of Libya and the shifting explanations of the administration over what happened when the consulate in Bengahzi was attacked. "It is still the -- it is now the worst cover-up or incompetence that I have ever observed in my life," said McCain, who has made that point in previous public appearences.
He added, "I don't know if it's either cover-up or gross -- the worst kind of incompetence which doesn't allow -- it doesn't qualify the president as commander in chief."
Emanuel mounted a defense that echoed Obama administration explanations: "You have an event, a changing event. You don't have people on the ground, in a sense, for 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," Emanuel said.
Moving on to Obama's foreign policy record, Emanuel said, "At every level of America's foreign policy abroad, in Europe, Asia, Africa, the Mideast is respected because they have seen this president take decisive leadership, take positions that he has executed from Iran to the protection of Israel to changing the war in Iraq and America's foreign policy to rebuilding us at home, reorienting America's resources to the threat coming or the challenge coming from China.
"That is a foreign policy that has made America continue to be the leader of the free world and with its values. And I would actually disagree with what the senator said. And if you look across the waterfront, America's leadership has never been stronger."