[NOTE: I couldn't post last night during the debate because I was driving home from New York City and listening to it on the radio. So I'm a bit late to the non-party.]
First, the debate: seemingly a draw. But perhaps Romney further proved himself “presidential” rather than the cruelly rapacious top-hatted murderer he’s been made out to be by Obama, and perhaps Obama further proved himself a mean-spirited guy with no answer to the questions that plague his failed presidency.
Perhaps. The debate I see (or in this case, hear) is never the debate other people seem to see and hear, and it is especially not the one the MSM sees.
And the MSM is still a huge player in this, despite the fact that fewer and fewer people trust it every year. The press has labored long and hard to earn that distrust.
Last night was a case in point. It’s tiresome and infuriating to spend so much time railing against the moderator, and I usually don’t get into that angle (it would be more newsworthy to point out the rare times the moderator does not openly shill for Obama). But CNN’s Candy Crowley has distinguished herself (if “distinguished” is the proper word) by displaying the most egregious and intrusive favoritism I’ve ever seen or heard by a moderator in a debate, as well as the most mendacious.
Crowley should be made to issue a public apology to Mitt Romney and then summarily fired, and a correction to her Orwellian “fact-checking” in last night’s debate should be prominently featured in every major newspaper in America.
Not. Going. To. Happen.
And that, perhaps, is why Crowley did it—so that she could wreak the maximum damage on Romney, carry the largest bucket of water possible for Obama, and count on the fact that any corrections that emerged would reach only a small fraction of the number her lie did.
Well played, Ms. Crowley, well-played.
When the exchange first happened, it should have been obvious to anyone who has followed the Benghazi story that there was something wrong with Crowley’s correction. For one thing, a moderator should not be fact-checking a presidential debate as it transpires, even if he/she is correct; it violates the agreement under which he/she signs on to moderate. For another thing, the “fact” Crowley inserted into the debate was incorrect.
But that didn’t stop Crowley—or Obama. In case you don’t know what I’m referring to, here’s the text of the relevant portion of the debate:
OBAMA: 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: 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.
I wonder whether this was a preplanned set-up, if the topic happened to come up (which of course it was likely to do). Obama demanding “get the transcript” is very, very odd. Are instant transcripts usually available on demand during debates? And why didn’t Crowley actually read the transcript aloud if the idea was to refer to it? Is she doing this from memory? How audacious of her! Because the transcript of Obama’s Rose Garden speech proves her wrong; Obama did not call the Benghazi violence an act of terror. He was carefully equivocal on the subject [emphasis mine]:
…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.
The speech is longer than that. But if you read the whole thing, you will see that Obama is very careful not to label the violence in Benghazi at all, except as an “attack.” Having spoken about the original 9/11 attack as well as the sacrifice of members of the military who have fallen in Iraq and Afghanistan, he then says “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation”—a general statement of fortitude.
One could infer that he might be thinking the Benghazi attack was terrorism, but Obama certainly does not say so. And subsequent statements emanating from the administration and its spokespeople were quite united in putting forth a competing message: that it was a spontaneous demonstration against the video (a demonstration that in fact never happened in Benghazi).
But as I said, perhaps what Crowley did will backfire, or perhaps it just won’t matter much. Any Republican must anticipate this sort of thing and factor in the influence of an increasingly biased media. I sincerely hope the American people can factor it in as well, and pay attention to what matters: Obama is unworthy of re-election, as he demonstrated last night and nearly every day for the last four years.
[NOTE: And forget Crowley’s half-assed admmission later on CNN, during which she ignores the fact that she was wrong about what Obama actually said in the Rose Garden:
[ADDENDUM: Bryan Preston puts it quite well at PJ’s Tatler:
This is the moment that debate moderator Candy Crowley jumped up from behind her desk and tackled Mitt Romney just as he was striding toward a game-changing touchdown. The replacement refs of the NFL had nothing on Crowley. They merely got calls wrong. I don’t recall them ever slipping into a linebacker role and making a game-saving tackle for any team.
Indeed; exactly correct.
Preston also points out that one of the perpetrators of the supposedly-forbidden audience applause in response to Crowley’s act was none other than: Michelle Obama.]