'Because I would say, even you would admit, it was not the optimal response, at least to the American people, as far as all of us being on the same page.'
Obama responded: 'Here's what I’ll say. If four Americans get killed, it’s not optimal.'
Now, a lot of people are spinning this as "he was repeating the question," or "he was going for understatement." Here's the problem with those. First, the question referred to his response- "it was not the optimal response." Mr. Stewart was trying to get Mr. Obama to admit that they'd muffed the response to the attack. Second, the President of the United States should know better than to call the deaths of any Americans "not optimal."
How many deaths would have been "optimal" Mr. President? One? Two? Or maybe you think not enough Americans died. Maybe you wanted five dead. Ten?
Another reason I'm less than willing to give him a pass on this is the disdain he regularly shows for anyone who isn't him, but especially our military. He took the time to write a personal letter consoling the family of a dead rapper, but sends only form letters to the families of dead Navy SEALs.
This wasn't simply some "gaff" or a joke gone wrong. As with everything, the Benghazi situation was about him. It was "not optimal" because it hurt him politically. "Not optimal" is something you say when something "could have been better." The fact he was even able to make that "joke" shows how he views our foreign service personnel- as chess pieces who can be sacrificed, as long as it's "optimal."