By Kevin Liptak
The assault on an American diplomatic post in Libya that left four Americans dead provided surrogates for both presidential candidates with fodder for political attacks Sunday, two days ahead of a critical debate between Mitt Romney and Barack Obama.
On CNN's "State of the Union," Romney adviser Ed Gillespie echoed an attack line the GOP nominee delivered last week, insisting that Vice President Joe Biden's assertions at the vice-presidential debate didn't match congressional testimony from State Department officials.
"Vice President Biden directly contradicted the sworn testimony of the State Department in the debate the other night. That led to another round of kind of nuancing by the White House," Gillespie said, adding: "There are inconsistencies here, and I think as Americans we deserve to know what really happened going into this attack."
Robert Gibbs, also speaking with CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley on "State of the Union," rejected the Republican criticism of the Obama administration, saying the president's rivals were seeking political gain from the national tragedy.
"We don't need wing-tipped cowboys or shoot-from-the-hip diplomacy," Gibbs said, pointing to widespread criticism of Romney's initial response to the attack in Libya, as well as a protest at the American Embassy in Cairo that occurred the same day.