“The Republicans are working overtime to try to exploit a very normal, run-of-the-course, administrative letter that we agreed to on a bipartisan basis on our committee simply to get some additional questions put in front of the State Department that are part of their already existing investigation,” Kerry told MSNBC. “This is not a challenge, it’s nothing new, it is not something out of the ordinary, and I agreed to do it as a matter of bipartisanship because we thought these were important questions that people ought to be examining. I am concerned with the way the Republicans are exploiting it. Yes, that’s inappropriate. All the Republicans can do or see is politics. All they can do is exploit it.”
Kerry is a key figure in the intensity of congressional curiosity about the Libya assaults. Not only is he in charge of how much the Foreign Relations Committee asks the administration to explain, he is also Obama’s designated stand-in for Romney in preparations for the first debate on Wednesday in Denver. In a curious bit of campaign coincidence, Kerry can play Romney in debate preparations, ask the Libya questions, and see how Obama responds.
But he made clear that the administration misstatements on Libya did not strike him as unusual or cause for concern. “It is a very complicated place,” Kerry said of Libya. “And with the craziness of that kind of incident, you need to know what happens. You have to go back and do that in a very methodical way. You’ve got to be careful. You’ve got to proceed very cautiously to understand exactly what went on.”
Click here to see the key questions and requests for information submitted by the full Foreign Relations Committee to Tom Nides, deputy secretary of State for management and resources. Kerry, a potential candidate for secretary of State if Obama is reelected, asked Nides to provide the information when Congress returns from its election-year fall break on Nov. 13.