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Libya controversy unlikely to impact U.S. presidential race

By Matthew Rusling (Xinhua)

08:15, October 31, 2012

WASHINGTON, Oct. 30 (Xinhua) -- The ongoing controversy over the death of U.S. Ambassador to Libya Christopher Stevens and three other Americans killed in an attack on the U.S. consulate Sept. 11 in Libya is unlikely to shake up next week's U.S. presidential election, experts said.

The White House initially billed the attack as erupting out of a spontaneous protest against an anti-Islamic movie made in the U. S., before it came out that the incident was a planned terrorist assault and that the film was unrelated.

Since then, information has been leaking out bit by bit, including reports that requests for military backup during the attack were denied and that Central Intelligence Agency operators were ordered to stand down.

Those reports raised tough questions for the administration of President Barack Obama, including who approved the ambassador's security at the Benghazi consulate; who made what calls about military enforcements once the compound was under siege; and what the administration knew before publicly laying the blame on the anti-Islamic film.

The administration has urged patience until an official investigation is completed, amid accusations of stonewalling.

Despite the controversy, foreign policy is an afterthought amid an election in which the overarching theme is the economy. With millions of unemployed and underemployed Americans and no clear end in sight, the Libya incident is far from most Americans' concerns.

Moreover, the war-weary public is increasingly isolationist in the wake of the unpopular U.S. conflict in Iraq and the ongoing war in Afghanistan, experts noted.

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