Crowley to Obama Advisor: 'Why Didn't the President Just Say, Yeah, Benghazi Was a Terrorist Attack?'

May 19th, 2013 4:38 PM

Do you remember Candy Crowley back in October, while acting as a presidential debate moderator, defending Barack Obama's claim that he had called the attack on our consulate in Benghazi, Libya, an act of terror the day after the attack?

Crowley apparently doesn't, for on CNN's State of the Union Sunday, she actually challenged Obama advisor Dan Pfeiffer about this asking, "Why didn't the president just say, yeah, it was a terrorist attack?" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

CROWLEY: Let me ask and turn you to Benghazi. When Susan Rice went on this show and all the other shows on Sunday, was the president aware of the talking points that we have seen sort of emerge over the last six months?

PFEIFFER: Of the many things the president gets involved in, talking points for Sundays shows is not one of them. But what he was aware of was the consensus of the intelligence community at the time.

CROWLEY: So, he was aware -- was he aware at the back and forth between the state department and White House?

PFEIFFER: No, no, no.

CROWLEY: None of that.

PFEIFFER: No, never -- no president would be involved in something like that.

CROWLEY: And so he did say in an interview in CBS which we later learned after the election, but a week and a half after Susan Rice was on, he did say he wasn't sure if it was a terrorist attack in a CBS interview.

PFEIFFER: No one was sure at that point. That's the point. That's why, as you look at the e-mails, the intelligence community --

CROWLEY: Well, no, the president --


CROWLEY: Libya, they were sure of it and the CIA seemed pretty sure of it.

PFEIFFER: Let's distinguish between two things. Was it an act of terror? Absolutely. And the president called it the day after in the Rose Garden. Was al Qaeda or al Qaeda affiliated extremists or an active terrorist group involve in a premeditated attack? No one knew that at the time and that's exactly why the talking points were written by the intelligence community, by the CIA as --

CROWLEY: So, why wouldn't the president just say, yeah, it was a terrorist attack?

PFEIFFER: He already called it acts of terror. What we didn't know yet was whether it was a premeditated attack by a terrorist group or something that had come as a result of protest or the video that had sparked outrage across the Middle East that week.

Maybe the debate she moderated seven months ago would have gone differently if Crowley would have had her facts straight about this attack back then. As NewsBusters reported at the time:

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.

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.

I guess Crowley is more comfortable correcting a presidential advisor than the President himself.

How nice for her - and him, of course.