Rep. Ann Kuster, a freshman Democrat from New Hampshire, tripped up when asked to explain her position on the Benghazi terrorist attack in a video posted to YouTube.
WMUR’s Political Director James Pindell first tweeted a link to the video Monday, when it only had 32 clicks. Now it has more than 176,000 clicks.
— James Pindell (WMUR) (@JamesPindell) December 9, 2013
The clip begins with Kuster reading a written question out loud asking for her opinion about House Resolution 36, which would establish a select committee to investigate and report on the Sept. 11, 2012 terrorist attack in Benghazi.
She begins her answer, incorrectly, by telling the audience that the measure is being crafted in the Senate so she doesn’t want to get into a discussion about it.
“Um, I don’t have – uh, it’s a Senate, I think ahhh,” she stammers. “I don’t think we have anything about that in the House.”
Pressed for an answer, Kuster says the forum should stay focused on the Middle East.
“Well, I’m certainly not here to talk about it,” Kuster answers. “We’re here to talk about the Middle East.”
Then, several people in the audience exclaim, “Benghazi is in the Middle East!”
The back-and-forth is then interrupted by a moderator who explains the session’s ground rules again as the video clip ends. The exchange happened on Nov. 25 at the New Hampshire Jewish Federation in Manchester, N.H., where Kuster was to share her experiences from a summer trip to Israel and answer questions on Israel and the Middle East.
Today Kuster’s office admits she was not as clear as she would have liked to be in her response, but she believes the U.S. needs to bring those responsible for the attack to justice.
“Like all Americans, I was horrified by the tragic attack on our Embassy in Benghazi that killed four patriotic Americans,” Kuster wrote in a statement. “Our focus must remain on finding those responsible, bringing them to justice, and taking every necessary step to prevent an attack like this from ever happening again.”
For the record, Benghazi is in Libya, a north African country that neighbors Egypt.
After the clip went viral, Kuster was panned by the National Republican Congressional Committee.
“Let’s be clear – Annie Kuster is a United States Congresswoman,” NRCC spokesman Ian Prior wrote in a statement. “Four Americans died as a result of the attacks in Benghazi. For her not to even address a voter’s questions about what the United States government is doing to get answers on those terrorist attacks makes her unqualified for the office which she holds.”