Tonight at the Hofstra Presidential Debate Candy Crowley did something that just may be unprecedented for a debate moderator. When Mitt took issue with Obama’s initial description of what was clearly a terrorist attack on Benghazi, she actually jumped in to take Obama’s side: “He did call it an act of terror,” she insisted.
Video via Gateway Pundit
As Romney correctly noted, for two weeks, the administration pushed the spontaneous protest/YouTube video story – the same falsehood that everyone in the Obama administration was pushing from the very beginning, and that Obama mentioned prominently in the Rose Garden speech.
Starting at 1:18 he talked about the YouTube video, at 4:18 he said “no act of terror”:
The Obama administration only started pushing the notion that he called it a terrorist attack on day one after the spontaneous protest story fizzled. That’s what Mitt Romney, and Ryan mean when they say, ‘it took him two weeks to admit that it was terrorism.’
Unfortunately, Obama has cover on this because the word “terror” does appear in his Rose Garden speech, as Joel Pollak noted a couple of days ago at Big Peace:
Obama mentioned the word “terror” once in his Sep. 12 statement: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.” But the context of that statement suggests strongly that President Obama was referring to terror in general, not specifically to the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi or the violent demonstrations at the U.S. embassy in Cairo.
Furthermore, Obama’s reference to “terror” came near the end of his statement. His initial description of the attacks, at the start of his statement, portrayed them as an excessive response to the anti-Islam video upon which the Obama relied for days and weeks thereafter: “Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification for this type of senseless violence.”
It was characterized as “senseless violence” that came as a result of the awful, bad You Tube video – not a pre-planned terrorist attack marking the anniversary of 9/11.
As Alana Goodman noted at Commentary on Sept. 30:
If Obama wanted to call the Benghazi assault a terrorist attack in that speech, he had plenty of opportunities to do so. Instead, he described it as a “terrible act,” a “brutal” act, “senseless violence,” and called the attackers “killers,” not terrorists. It’s also important to consider the context. For a week after this speech, the White House would not call it a terrorist attack. The official position was that Libya was a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam film, not a premeditated or preplanned act.
Some may wonder why it even matters. Maybe Obama really was referring to Benghazi as an “act of terror” in the speech, and he just failed to make that clear enough — so what?
Actually, this is much more than an issue of semantics. Calling it a terrorist attack would have given Obama powers under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) to use military action, including drone warfare, against the perpetrators. If he were serious about “bring[ing] to justice the killers,” which he vowed to do in the speech, then labeling this incident a terrorist attack (if he believed that’s what it was) would have been critical.
Instead, we had the FBI sitting on their hands in Tripoli, unable to “investigate” the crime scene until October – after reporters had already picked through all of the rubble.
Pollak observed, in late Sept, the Obama administration began to make a subtle distinction: “the difference between terrorism as an action (or reaction), and terrorism as an independent motive or cause.”
On Sep. 20, for example, when the administration first began to backtrack, White House spokesman Jay Carney suddenly told reporters that it was “self-evident” that the Benghazi attack had been a “terrorist attack”–by which he meant specifically that “Our embassy was attacked violently and the result was four deaths of American officials.”
In other words, the attack was “terrorist” because it was violent–but not necessarily because it was carried out by terrorists.
Carney did not allow that the attack had been premeditated, leaving the administration enough wiggle room to continue to blame the video–as President Obama subsequently did again, five days later, at the United Nations on Sep. 25. In his speech, Obama failed to use the word “terror” or “terrorism” to describe the attack.
In the days that followed Obama’s speech, the White House and the State Department gradually and grudgingly acknowledged the reality that the attack in Benghazi had nothing to do with the video. Last week, on Oct. 9, the State Department finally stated unequivocally that there had been no protest outside the U.S consulate prior to the attack.
So the Obama White House, and the Obama campaign, had to change their story again. Having relied for weeks on the imaginary distinction between terrorism as a reaction to the anti-Islam video (a meaning that they had embraced), and cause of the attack (a meaning that they had denied), they began pretending that President Obama had referred to terrorism in the latter, broader sense as early as Sep. 12.
Mitt’s only mistake was not realizing that Obama had used the words “act of terror” in the Rose Garden to describe a reaction to a YouTube video, an explanation that they knew at the time, was untrue.
The Right Scoop: Candy Crowley: Romney was actually right on Libya
After the debate, “Romney was actually right on Libya” trended on Twitter in the United States.
It was Candy + Eye Candy > Mittens
“Point blank: The president lied to the American people,” Priebus said when discussing Obama’s comments on whether he blamed terrorists for the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. “I think the moderator might have helped that along.”
Say whatever else you want about the debate: seeing Romney have the sack to call out Obama for lying, to his face, was pure chewing satisfaction. As with the previous debate, I may have to trundle over to the Romney campaign site for a wee donation, I’m so pleased by this. And as for Candid Candy, I hope she doesn’t spend all 30 pieces of silver in one place.
The singular take away moment of last night’s debate was one that elevated Crowley from moderator to debate participant. Crowley shot from the hip and echoed a talking point from the Obama campaign regarding their handling of the Libya attack to criticize Mitt Romney mid-debate. What’s more? She was wrong. Crowley did her profession a disservice last night and confirmed many American’s deepest suspicions about the media in the process.
Candy Crowley, who was suspected of being one more liberal moderator in the tank for Barack Obama, was more than just in the tank for him; she dove in and sucked all the water out for him so he could pretend he walked on water.
In the Vice-Presidential debate, Martha Raddatz, no slouch at shilling for the Democratic Party, interrupted Paul Ryan 15 times and Joe Biden only five.
Crowley made Raddatz look like an amateur. She interrupted Obama nine times, (although four of those were when he wouldn’t respect the time limit when discussing assault weapons; he went over his time limit all night long), but when it came to Mitt Romney, she was utterly beyond the pale.
Crowley interrupted Romney 28 times. 28 times. Her desperation to keep Romney from scoring points was so patently obvious that it wasn’t really a surprise when she had her infamous moment: the moment when she interrupted and falsely claimed Romney was incorrect in accusing Obama of refusing to call the Benghazi attack an act of terror.
And even beyond the interruptions, there were numerous instances where Crowley’s obvious partisanship prompted her to treat Romney with great disrespect…
Linked by Doug Ross, thanks!