CNN correspondent and second presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley disgraced herself tonight, repeatedly intervening to save a floundering President Obama and showing why many Americans were rightfully suspicious of her ability to moderate a presidential debate fairly.
Her most outrageous act tonight was her incorrect seconding of Obama's statement that he declared the Libya terrorist attacks to be "terror." While Obama did indeed use the word, this is not what he meant by it. Instead, he was simply referring to "acts of terror." There was no mention of Al Qaeda or any of its affiliates with respect to the actual attack on the U.S. embassy in Benghazi.
Crowley bungled the facts in attempting to save Obama from his administration's dreadful bungling of the Libya situation. She owes the American people an apology for inserting herself into the debate in such an inappropriate and embarrassing fashion.
Obama deliberately quoted himself out of context and Crowley not only allowed him to do so, she validated his intentionally narrow reading of the facts even before he pleaded for her to come to his rescue.
Here is the full Obama statement in reference to "terror" in Libya. As you can see, this was purely a generic discussion of violence:
"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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."
Even liberal Washington Post "fact checker" Glenn Kessler has admitted this. For more supplementary material, see the end of this post.
Candy Crowley not only inappropriately inserted herself into a presidential debate, she did so in a fashion that was so incredibly incompetent that even her CNN colleagues threw her under the bus. CNN host Anderson Cooper admitted Crowley was wrong on the facts just moments ago.
The video of Crowley's disgrace is below. Continue reading for a summary.
The controversy began after Obama referred to his earlier off-hand remark out of context, stating that "the day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime."
Romney saw an opening and tried to move in for the attack, not realizing that Obama was willing to deliberately misquote himself. Unfortunately for him, the Republican walked right into Obama's false reality by inadvertently referring to Benghazi incident as "an act of terror," the very same language the legalistic Obama had just referred to.
"Get the transcript," Obama commanded.
Instead of sitting on the sidelines and letting a dispute ensue or simply moving on to the next topic as a fair moderator would have done, Crowley deliberately interposed herself into the debate and actively tried to contradict Romney.
"He did, in fact, sir," Crowley interjected before trying to dismiss Romney to move on. But she couldn't leave that act of bias alone. Instead, she continued her interruption, saying "call it an act of terror."
This intervention gave Obama his only gleeful moment of the night as he called out to the very helpful Crowley, asking her repeat her attack on the Republican "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" he cooed.
The left-leaning audience in the room chortled in approval. Crowley obliged.
"He did call it 'an act of terror,"' Crowley repeated.
Trying to salvage a shred of her credibility, Crowley added that Romney was indeed correct on the merits but it was too late. America had just witnessed one of the most outrageous acts of liberal bias in history.
In a CNN discussion after the debate was over, Crowley admitted her interruption of Romney was nothing more than a reflexive action and that Romney's critique of Obama was correct "in the main." She did not apologize for her offensive behavior either.
Not that it would have mattered. Even if she had offered a sincere apology for her unprofessional outburst, it would not have been seen by nearly as many people who watched her blocking and tackling for Barack Obama.
Perusing the full Obama speech from 9/12 reveals that the president clearly misstated the facts:
Good morning. Every day, all across the world, American diplomats and civilians work tirelessly to advance the interests and values of our nation. Often, they are away from their families. Sometimes, they brave great danger.
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi. Among those killed was our Ambassador, Chris Stevens, as well as Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. We are still notifying the families of the others who were killed. And today, the American people stand united in holding the families of the four Americans in our thoughts and in our prayers.
The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We're working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I've also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
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 to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts.
Already, many Libyans have joined us in doing so, and this attack will not break the bonds between the United States and Libya. Libyan security personnel fought back against the attackers alongside Americans. Libyans helped some of our diplomats find safety, and they carried Ambassador Stevens’s body to the hospital, where we tragically learned that he had died.
It's especially tragic that Chris Stevens died in Benghazi because it is a city that he helped to save. At the height of the Libyan revolution, Chris led our diplomatic post in Benghazi. With characteristic skill, courage, and resolve, he built partnerships with Libyan revolutionaries, and helped them as they planned to build a new Libya. When the Qaddafi regime came to an end, Chris was there to serve as our ambassador to the new Libya, and he worked tirelessly to support this young democracy, and I think both Secretary Clinton and I relied deeply on his knowledge of the situation on the ground there. He was a role model to all who worked with him and to the young diplomats who aspire to walk in his footsteps.
Along with his colleagues, Chris died in a country that is still striving to emerge from the recent experience of war. Today, the loss of these four Americans is fresh, but our memories of them linger on. I have no doubt that their legacy will live on through the work that they did far from our shores and in the hearts of those who love them back home.
Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks. We mourned with the families who were lost on that day. I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed. And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.
As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it. Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.
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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done.
But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.
We grieve with their families, but let us carry on their memory, and let us continue their work of seeking a stronger America and a better world for all of our children.
Thank you. May God bless the memory of those we lost and may God bless the United States of America.
Further review of another statement released by the White House shows that Obama did not mention "terror" at all. If Obama truly believed it was terrorism, he likely would have inserted this. He also wouldn't have gone on multiple fund-raising trips after the incident happened nor would he (and his underlings) have repeatedly blamed an internet video for the attacks for 2 solid weeks. Here's the statement in full:
I strongly condemn the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Chris Stevens. Right now, the American people have the families of those we lost in our thoughts and prayers. They exemplified America's commitment to freedom, justice, and partnership with nations and people around the globe, and stand in stark contrast to those who callously took their lives.
I have directed my Administration to provide all necessary resources to support the security of our personnel in Libya, and to increase security at our diplomatic posts around the globe. While the United States rejects efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others, we must all unequivocally oppose the kind of senseless violence that took the lives of these public servants.
On a personal note, Chris was a courageous and exemplary representative of the United States. Throughout the Libyan revolution, he selflessly served our country and the Libyan people at our mission in Benghazi. As Ambassador in Tripoli, he has supported Libya's transition to democracy. His legacy will endure wherever human beings reach for liberty and justice. I am profoundly grateful for his service to my Administration, and deeply saddened by this loss.
The brave Americans we lost represent the extraordinary service and sacrifices that our civilians make every day around the globe. As we stand united with their families, let us now redouble our own efforts to carry their work forward.
White House press secretary Jay Carney, a former Time magazine reporter, directly contradicted the idea that the Administration believed the Benghazi attack was the doing of a terrorist organization. In a brief question-and-answer session with reporters on September 20, he was quite explicit in this regard:
Q: Can you -- have you called it a terrorist attack before? Have you said that?
MR. CARNEY: I haven’t, but -- I mean, people attacked our embassy. It’s an act of terror by definition.
Q: Yes, I just hadn’t heard you --
MR. CARNEY: It doesn’t have to do with what date it occurred.
Q: No, I just hadn’t heard the White House say that this was an act of terrorism or a terrorist attack. And I just --
MR. CARNEY: I don’t think the fact that we hadn’t is not -- as our NCTC Director testified yesterday, a number of different elements appear to have been involved in the attack, including individuals connected to militant groups that are prevalent in eastern Libya, particularly in the Benghazi area. We are looking at indications that individuals involved in the attack may have had connections to al Qaeda or al Qaeda’s affiliates, in particular al Qaeda in the Islamic Maghreb.