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Benghazi, Sandy and the politics of disaster

Blown away by Hurricane Sandy: News of the Sept. 11 attacks in Benghazi, Libya.

But the coverage is returning as Sandy’s floodwater’s recede and Republicans press the Obama Administration for more answers about the deadly attacks in the Middle East.

“I think there’s classified information the public should know about eventually but there’s no reason for it to be classified,” Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, a member of the Select Committee on Intelligence, said, declining to discuss what classified information he has or has not seen.

Rubio said he hopes for more public information after his committee holds a closed-door hearing on the attacks Nov. 15.

“After the hearings,” Rubio said, “there will be an enormous amount of pressure on them to disclose that.”

Rubio, a Republican, said he was disappointed that the Democrat-controlled Senate scheduled the hearings after the election, and he suggested it gave President Obama more time to spin “a political narrative.”

Obama has received a boost of positive press from the latest disaster, Hurricane Sandy.

The monster storm dominated the news, largely because it affected so many people and destroyed so much in the backyard of the national media’s broadcast nerve center in the New York area.

In contrast to how he handled Benghazi, Obama is winning plaudits for managing the crisis and striking up what some political observers jokingly called a ‘bromance” with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, a campaign-trail surrogate for Republican Mitt Romney along with Rubio

The two incidents highlight the perils and profits inherent in the politics of disaster in the neck-and-neck presidential race.

Until Sandy struck this week, there was only one major disaster burning in the presidential race: Benghazi, the deaths of four foreign-service workers and the Obama Administration’s differing explanations of what happened.

Now, Obama supporters are on offense, blasting Romney for suggesting in a June CNN debate that the Federal Emergency Management Agency should be cut or take more of a back seat in responding to disasters.

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