I have been drifting all over PolicyMic reading as many articles as I can to gather viewpoints from the fact check debate on Tuesday night. Most liberals agree that Obama did, in fact, use the phrase "acts of terror" on the day after the Benghazi attacks in his statement from the Rose Garden. Conservatives, however, are all over the place on the topic. Some say Obama used the phrase, but wasn't referring to the attack on Benghazi; others say he didn't even use the phrase. And some maintain that Crowley and Obama conspired to stage the whole Romney-led gaffe!
I'm going to try to hash this out piece by piece and give you, the reader, the facts on this fact check.
1. Did Obama use the phrase "acts of terror" during his statement on the Benghazi attacks in the Rose Garden on September 12, 2012 ?
Yes. You will find it at the 4:21 mark of the video.
As the video demonstrates, clearly the president did use the phrase.
2. What exactly did Obama say he said on September 12 on the debate stage?
On stage, Obama said, "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." He states correctly that he told the American people that this was an "act of terror," and the video above shows us that he did use that phrase.
Now, whether you believe his use of the phrase in September was framing Benghazi as an act of terror is up to you. I believe that, in the context of the all-inclusive statement he was giving, he was calling it terrorism.
3. Did Obama order Candy Crowley to "get the transcript?"
As you can see above, during the exchange in question, Romney is staring at the president, who had just told him to proceed. The president tells him to get the transcript. Crowley, at the same time, clarifies for Romney that Obama did call it an "act of terror."
4. Did Crowley also confirm the point Romney was trying to make?
Again, watching the previous video, we can see that she did. But let's read what she said to confirm:
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...(Confirms Obama did use the phrase.)
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He — he did call it an act of terror. (Again, confirms Obama did use the phrase.) 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. (Confirms Romney's assertion that publicly the administration was not forthcoming with the facts.)
ROMNEY: This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.
CROWLEY: It did. (Again, confirms Romney's assertion that publicly the administration was not forthcoming with the facts.)
Now we know exactly what happened, and hopefully we can all move on. Crowley fact checked both candidates Tuesday night. But as is typical, conservatives missed the second bit, and liberals ignored it. Why aren't conservatives pouncing on Crowley's second point, confirming Romney's take? They can easily turn this around, but they are currently blowing it. This whole fact checking debacle is just one more reason why I have no use for either of these candidates or their parties any longer.
It is beyond my comprehension how the entire world has failed to notice that Crowley identified on two separate occasions — live on stage — that Mitt Romney was right about the overall point he was trying to make. Where Romney screwed the pooch was in going after the president for a lie that didn't exist. The Libya question should have been a beach ball sized beat down for the Republican challenger, but Romney's ego got in the way.
For more information about the debate, please check out my live blog here.