Mitt Romney was widely scorned for criticizing Obama in the assault’s immediate aftermath for allegedly sympathizing with the attackers. But days later, Romney, his allies and other pundits found an opening to again criticize the administration. U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice claimed that the attack in Libya was an outgrowth of the protests in Cairo against an anti-Muslim film. But the administration’s story soon changed.
This shift in story — while always likely given the nature of intelligence — launched a new round of condemnation against Obama. Accusations and speculation of administration lies and cover-ups have been the major focus of the narrative since then.
But the reality is much more nuanced than what the built-up narrative suggests. The following is a timeline of not the attack itself, but the response to it, by the Obama administration, Mitt Romney’s campaign and the right-wing: