The most dramatic moment in Tuesday night’s debate between President Barack Obama and Republican challenger Mitt Romney came during a heated discussion of Libya, when moderator Candy Crowley of CNN intervened and became a third voice in the contest.
Here’s the transcript, courtesy of Politico.com:
ROMNEY: I — I think interesting the president just said something which — which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That’s what I said.
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror.
It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you’re saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror…
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take — it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
Soon after the debate was over, Crowley’s colleagues at CNN questioned her about the exchange:
”I knew the president had said ‘These acts of terror won’t stand,’ or whatever the whole quote was. Right after that, I did turn around and said [to Romney], ‘But you were totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us that this was about a tape, and that there was a riot outside the Benghazi complex, which there wasn’t.’
“So [Romney] was right in the main. I just think he picked the wrong word.”
Republicans this morning are pointing to these paragraphs from a Sept. 20 report on the CNN website:
The White House, for the first time Thursday, declared the attack that killed Stevens and three other people a terrorist attack.
“It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” said White House spokesman Jay Carney, speaking to reporters on Air Force One.
Here’s what Obama said in the Rose Garden the day after he learned that J. Christopher Stevens, the U.S. ambassador to Libya, and three other diplomatic personnel had been killed:
“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.”
- By Jim Galloway, Political Insider