Obama on Going After Libya Attackers: 'I Mean What I Say'

Mitt Romney criticizes president's Middle East policy and "apology tour."
3:00 | 10/16/12

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Transcript for Obama on Going After Libya Attackers: 'I Mean What I Say'
-- let -- This question actually comes from. A brain trust of my friends at global Telecom supply and -- yesterday. We were sitting around talking about Libya. And we were raining and became aware -- reports. That the State Department. Refused extra security. For embassy in been -- -- Libya prior to the attacks that killed four Americans. Who was it that denied enhanced security. And why. -- -- first of all talk about our diplomats because they serve all around the world. And do it a credible job in a very dangerous situation. And these are just representative for United States or my representatives. I send them there often times in harm's way. I know these folks and I know the families. So nobody is more concerned about their safety and security. -- So as soon as we found out that the -- Ghazi consulate was being -- I was on the phone with my national security team. And I gave -- three instructions number one beef up. Our security and say. And and procedures. Not us and Libya but every embassy and consulate in the region. Number to investigate exactly what happened. Regardless of where the facts lead us. To make sure that folks are held accountable. And it doesn't happen again. And number three. We are gonna find out who did this and we're gonna hunt them down because one of things that I've said throughout my presidency is -- folks -- what Americans. We go after them. Now governor -- at a very different response. While we were still dealing with our diplomats being threatened. Governor -- put out a press release. Trying to make political points. And that's not how -- commander in chief operates. You don't turn national security and -- political issue certainly not quite what it's happening. And people not everybody agrees with -- decisions I've -- Or comes our national -- I mean what I say. I said -- and the war -- in in Iraq and liked it. I said that we go after al-Qaeda and bin Laden we -- I said we transition out of Afghanistan. And start making sure that Afghans are responsible for their own security that's what I'm -- And when it comes to this issue. When I say that we are gonna find out exactly what happened. Everybody will be held accountable. I am ultimately responsible for what's taking place there because these are my folks. And on the one who has to greet those coffins when they come home. You know. That I mean what I say mr. -- along governor. Thank you caring for your question it's an important one and and I I think the president just said correctly that that the buck does stop at his desk. And and he takes responsibility for for that for that the failure and in providing those security resources and and those. Terrible things they may well happen from time to time I I'm I feel very deeply. Sympathetic for the families of those who lost lost -- -- today there's a memorial service for one of those that was lost in this tragedy we we think of their families and care for -- deeply. There were other issues associated with this with this tragedy. There were many days that passed before we knew that this was a spontaneous demonstration or actually whether it was a terrorist attack. And there was no demonstration involved it was a terrorist attack. And it took a long time for that to be told of the American people. Whether there was some misleading or instead whether we just didn't know what happened I think you have to ask yourself why didn't we know. Five days later. When the ambassador to the United Nations one on TV to say that this was a demonstration how -- we have not known. But I but I find more trouble in this Saddam on the day following. The assassination of United States ambassador the first time that's happened since 1979. When when we have four Americans killed there when apparently we didn't know what happened. That the president. The day after that happened flies to Las Vegas for political fund -- in the next -- to Colorado for another effect of the political event I think these. These actions taken by a president and leader. Have symbolic significance. And perhaps even. A material significance in that -- hope that during that time we could call in the people who are actually eyewitnesses we've read their accounts now about what happened it was very clear. This was not -- demonstration this was an attack. By terrorists. And and this calls into question the president's whole policy in the Middle East look what's happening in Syria. In Egypt. Now and in Libya. Consider the distance between ourselves and in Israel the president said that that he was gonna put daylight between us and Israel. We have Iran for years closer to a nuclear bomb. Syria Syria's not just the tragedy of 30000. Civilians being killed by a military but also a strategic. -- strategically significant player for America that the president's policies throughout the Middle East began with an apology tour. And and and pursue a strategy a leading from behind and the strategies unraveling before our very eyes. Because we're we're close again I want to still get a lot of people in a -- -- sentenced to prison and have the governor just quickly. Your secretary of state as I'm sure you know has said. That she takes full responsibility. For the attack on the diplomatic mission -- -- -- does the buck stop with your secretary of -- -- of what went on here. Senator Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. On the president. And I'm always response. And that's why nobody is more interest in finding out exactly what happened. The night. The day after the attack governor. I stood in the Rose Garden. And I told the American people in the world -- we're gonna find out exactly what happened. But this was an act of terror. And I also said we're gonna hunt down those who committed -- -- And then a few days later I was -- greeting the caskets. Coming in and reserve forces. And grieving with the families. And the suggestion. That anybody in my -- Secretary of state. -- UN ambassador. Anybody -- my team. Would like politics or mislead. When we've lost four of our own governor. Is offenses. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president. That's not why do as commander in chief. If you -- that's what I that is I literally I I think it's Anderson the president just said something which which is that on the day after the attack he won the Rose Garden garden. And said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration is that what you're saying please person -- -- By. Want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president fourteen days before he called the attack and -- -- an act of terror get. The -- it if he didn't and facts are so let me let me -- -- call -- an -- that allowed a candidate elected he. He did. -- -- Terror it did as well. Take it it is well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of their being a -- out there about this tape. But to come out -- -- this -- that the administration. The administration. Indicated that this was say. -- reaction to a to a video -- was a spontaneous reaction to it it took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And and and to suggest. It MMI incorrect -- that -- regard. -- on Sunday the that your your secretary your Pacific -- me. The ambassador the United Nations what of the Sunday to -- television shows and and spoke about how -- it was a spontaneous. I have been on and have a longer -- vision about absolutely but I want out when I'm -- you want and although I'm it can't go to transcripts. Or. That. Elderly at a -- are gonna have a chance to get some -- questions because.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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