May 17, 2013 11:55:52 AM
WASHINGTON -- President Barack Obama on Thursday tried to turn the tables on Republicans who have criticized his administration's response to last year's deadly attack in Benghazi, Libya, calling on lawmakers to approve his request to increase funding for diplomatic security.
Obama's call was the second step in as many days designed to combat GOP charges that his administration misled Americas about the circumstances of the attack, playing down the terrorist strike that killed four Americans amid the presidential race. Obama has angrily rejected those claims and now is seeking to turn the debate toward improving embassy security.
"I want to say to members of Congress in both parties, we need to come together and truly honor the sacrifice of those four courageous Americans and better secure our diplomatic posts around the world," Obama said at a Rose Garden news conference with the Turkish prime minister. "That's how we learn the lessons of Benghazi."
The State Department is seeking about $1.4 billion for increased security. The money would come primarily from funds that haven't been spent in Iraq. That would include $553 million for 35 more Marine Security Guard units, $130 million for 155 diplomatic security agents and $376 million for security upgrades and construction at new embassies.
Since the attack on Sept. 11, 2012, Democrats have complained that Republicans cut $300 million from the Obama administration's budget request of $2.6 billion for diplomatic and embassy security in 2012.