Fact Sheet

Fact-checking Candy Crowley's 'act of terror' fact-check

The debate moderator comes under fire for siding with Obama in a key moment of the second presidential debate. Was she right?

Mitt Romney's supporters are furious at CNN's Candy Crowley for fact-checking the GOP nominee on the fly in Tuesday's debate, telling him that he was wrong to say that President Obama hadn't referred to the deadly Sept. 11 assault on the U.S. Consulate as an act of "terror" until 14 days after it happened. Obama said he referred to the attack, which killed Libya Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other Americans, as an "act of terror" on Sept. 12 in a speech in the White House Rose Garden. Romney pounced, thinking he had caught Obama in a lie, and Crowley interjected, saying, "He did call it an act of terror." She added that Romney was right to say that the Obama administration took two weeks to abandon the suggestion that the attack was related to protests over an anti-Islam video, but the exchange clearly threw off Romney. (See the video below.) His supporters argue that Crowley disgraced herself, both by showing a pro-Obama bias and by mischaracterizing a statement in which Obama was referring to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks — not Benghazi. Was Crowley on the mark, or is this a case where the fact-checking doesn't stand up under fact-checking?

Crowley blew it: The CNN journalist was just plain wrong, says Jennifer Rubin at The Washington Post. Obama said during the speech that "no acts of terror" will shake our resolve, but he didn't mention Benghazi leading up to that statement. He was referring to "9/11/01 and other jihadist attacks." Obama was wrong, and Crowley "egregiously sided" with him instead of remaining impartial.
"Obama still wrong on Libya; Crowley blows it"

Huh? Romney messed up and Crowley caught him: Conservatives are upset because their guy got slammed, says James Poniewozik at TIME, but disputing Crowley's fact-check is a losing game. Obama directly spoke of the dead in Benghazi immediately after his line about "acts of terror." Romney got caught because there was a knowledgeable journalist there to keep him honest. Kudos to Crowley.
"Debate Watch: The fact-check heard round the world"

Obama did call it an act of terror, but not when Crowley said: Romney's supporters are right about one thing, says Josh Rogin at Foreign Policy. In the Rose Garden on Sept. 12, Obama really "did not explicitly refer to the Benghazi attack as an 'act of terror,' though he did use those words." He did, however, specifically call the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" on a campaign stop the very next day. Regardless, Romney's claim that Obama took 14 days to call Benghazi terrorism is wrong.
"Obama did call Benghazi attack an 'act of terror' — in Colorado"

Take a look at the exchange for yourself:

And take a look at Obama's Rose Garden remarks, too:

Read more political coverage at The Week's 2012 Election Center.

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