Obama and Emanuel
Obama and Emanuel Reuters

Chicago Mayor and former White House Chief of Staff Rahm Emanuel defended President Obama's handling of the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Appearing on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. Emmanuel claimed that Obama "took control and he said exactly what needs to be done" following the Sept. 11 attack, which claimed the lives of four Americans, including U.S. ambassador Chris Stevens.

Earlier on the program, Arizona Sen. John McCain (R) McCain lambasted the president’s handling of the attack.

"This is either a massive cover-up or an incompetence that is not acceptable service to the American people," he said, adding that information that has surfaced since the attacks indicates that the narrative provided by the White House in the days following was "patently false."

"There was no demonstration. So for literally days and days they told the American people something that had no basis in fact whatsoever," he said.

Emanuel insisted, however, the conflicting reports emerging from the White House were merely the result of shifting intelligence.

"You have an event, a changing event, you don't have people on the ground, in a sense, with that information. The intelligence community, many different apparatuses -- from military intelligence, national security intelligence, CIA -- is assembling that information to give you the best picture, and events change," Emanuel said.

Republicans have been criticizing the administration, arguing that the president waited too long to acknowledge that the attack was, in fact, an act of terror and not simply a spontaneous protest that had escalated as a result of fury over an amateur video that mocked the Prophet Mohamed.

Reports that Washington had denied requests for heightened security protections by diplomats on the ground have also left Obama on the defensive.

The President has claimed that he was "not personally aware" of requests for more security. 

"Ultimately, though, any time there is a death of an American overseas, I want to find out what happened because my most important job as president is keeping the American people safe, and we will get to the bottom of what happened," Obama said. 

"If you look across the waterfront, America's leadership has never been stronger," Emanuel added, championing the president’s foreign policy record.

Republicans, however, continue to maintain that the attack in Libya is merely one more indication of Obama’s foreign policy failures and how he, as Romney claimed during the third presidential debate, went on an “apology tour” once entering office and continues to “lead from behind.”