**UPDATE: Per a CNN interview post-debate, moderator Candy Crowley has essentially admitted that she was incorrect in supporting Obama’s statement during the debate in which he claimed he called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” the next morning in the Rose Garden. See below for full update.**
In the Presidential debate Tuesday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney missed a crucial opportunity to more effectively point out the dubious inconsistencies (and potential misdirection) of the Obama administration’s response to the terrorist attacks in Benghazi that claimed the lives of four Americans on Sept. 11.
During a testy, somewhat awkward, exchange, Romney directly challenged President Barack Obama’s assertion that he referred to the Benghazi attack as an “act of terror” during his address in the Rose Garden the day following the attack.
Debate moderator Candy Crowley quickly jumped to the aid of Obama by informing Romney that “he did” in fact use the phrase during the September 12 address.
There is some question as to whether Obama actually used the language. As of Tuesday evening at 11:00pm, the official transcript available on the White House website does not include the phrase, however, other sources report that Obama stated: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…”
Caught in the minutia, Romney failed to drive home the important point he was actually trying to make: the Obama administration avoided admitting that the Benghazi attack was a coordinated terror attack for a full two weeks despite the fact that intelligence officials concluded it was a terrorist attack within 24 hours of the killings.
Does anyone honestly believe that a vague reference to an “act of terror” is an admission by the Obama administration that the United States suffered an Al-Qaeda linked “terrorist attack” in the context of all the other White House communications on the issue?
U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice went on the Sunday morning news circuit five days after the attack explaining that the killings were the result of a “spontaneous” protest over an anti-Islam YouTube video. White House Spokesman Jay Carney also argued days after the attacks that they were caused by the YouTube clip.
Not to be outdone, President Obama used his speech at the United Nations General Assembly on September 25 (14 days after our intelligence officials concluded it was a terror attack) to personally blame the YouTube inspired protestors on the murders.
In what would have been the perfect venue to address the issue, the President declined to reference terrorism, or even any “acts of terror,” with regard to Libya during his address at the UN.
After spiking the football repeatedly on the killing of Bin Laden and claiming repeatedly that Al-Qaeda was “on the road to defeat,” the Obama administration did everything in its power to avoid discussing the deadly, Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist attack that occurred on the anniversary of 9-11.
To turn around and suggest that President Obama admitted the Benghazi attack was a terrorist attack all along because he used the word “terror” once in a Rose Garden address is an Orwellian rewrite of history and the debate moderator should not have participated in it.
UPDATE: In a post-debate interview with CNN’s Anderson Cooper, Candy Crowley back tracked and admitted that Romney was correct in his statements. “Well, you know again, I’d heard the president’s speech at the time… so I knew that the president had, had said, you know ‘these acts of terrors won’t stand’ or whatever the whole quote was, and I think actually, you know because right after that, I did turn to Romney and say, ‘but you are totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape… He was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word.”