WASHINGTON -- Former Republican presidential candidate and House Speaker Newt Gingrich went after the president on Sunday for his handling of the attacks on a consulate in Benghazi, Libya last month, expressing little sympathy for what President Barack Obama has called "offensive" questions over how he dealt with the situation.
"It's offensive for the president of the United States to pretend that being asked a serious question about a serious topic in a presidential campaign is some personality game," he told Candy Crowley on CNN's "State of the Union."
"If that offends the president, then that’s his problem and he ought to get over it," Gingrich added later.
Obama said during last week's debate that "the suggestion that anybody on my team ... would play politics or mislead when we lost four of our own, Governor [Romney], is offensive."
Gingrich, like many other Republicans, was critical of the Obama administration for initially referring to the incident as a spontaneous attack by a mob. (The White House has since said it was a pre-planned terrorist attack.) Former New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson (D), appearing alongside Gingrich, came to Obama's defense, pointing out that he had called it an "act of terror" immediately after the attack on a U.S. consulate that killed the ambassador and three others.
Gingrich said Obama's response was a failure compared to how former Republican President Ronald Reagan dealt with the hostage crisis in Iran in the early 1980s.
“Should Ronald Reagan not have talked about it for 444 days?" Gingrich said. "The fact is, we're in the middle of a mess in the Middle East, the mess keeps evolving, there continue to be incidents."