The Republican version of F & F reads like this. Some gun running was done during the Bush administration, but the program was small, field-driven, and done only in close cooperation with Mexican authorities. Knowledge of the program never rose to the level of the Attorney Generals under Bush, much less to the White House itself. Lower level Bush era bureaucrats may have considered the expanded level of gun running that became F & F, but they never implemented it. By the time F & F took place and all the assault rifles were loaded into vehicles bound for Mexico, not only had the Obama team and Attorney General Holder been on the job for many months, but President Obama had already specifically promised Mexican president Calderon that there would be no gun running. He, Obama, was all over it.
The Obama version of the above events is much different. According to various statements out of Eric Holder's mouth, he knew nothing about F & F until it was a fait accompli, he certainly did not know that President Obama had already taken a strong stance against such goings on, and in fact Holder assumed that Obama certainly knew nothing at all about what lower-level federal law enforcement authorities were doing because he, Holder, knew nothing about those activities.
Obviously, there are serious factual discrepancies in these narratives. The best way to know who is telling the truth is for all the documentary evidence to come out. It is absurd to suggest that there law enforcement secrets involved that must be kept secret from the drug cartels, or that Republicans in Congress can not be trusted to vet, redact, and preserve the secrecy of anything not related to gun running that might be revealed in a massive document turnover by the Dept. of Justice.
Indeed, if documents exist which clearly place responsibility for a program which took place during the Obama term since Jan. 2009 on the departed Bush administration, why would not Mr. Holder produce this evidence and wave it around while shouting: "SEE, SEE, BUSH DID IT. BUSH DID IT"?
The Republicans in Congress, in fact, would regret their reckless fishing expedition if such evidence existed, but they do not appear to be at all worried about that. Here is another dirty little secret about how government really works. Congress is not entirely blind when it comes to fishing for smoking guns that have been thrown away in deep and murky ponds.
Even in the Justice Department there do exist civil service bureaucrats who certainly sense that the political winds are a-changing. Such federal employees may even be able to justify some serious leaking in their own consciences because as insiders they darn well know what really happened and where the proofs lie buried.
So, we will all eventually find out the truth of the matter. Long after the coming election books will be written, maybe even some folks will be prosecuted and earn a little country club prison time.
For the F & F story to really matter for this election, we will have to see if conservatives and right wingers (who will buy much advertising probably NOT approved by the Romney campaign) go ahead and finance advertising which broadcasts the theory that Obama and Holder deliberately unleashed the F & F program in a blatant, too-clever, and ultimately clumsy, attempt to discredit the Second Amendment, the NRA, and all Republicans who champion the rights of gun enthusiasts.