This morning yours truly got some emails accusing TMV of being a “liberal” site that lies and is written by “liars” due to our mentioning Candy Crowley’s fact check of Mitt Romney’s comment in last night’s debate about President Barack Obama and Libya (one referred to our long news blog roundup on the debate). Another called the site a bunch of socialists. (These messages have been relocated to the delete box, but I think the box has rejected them)
Eugene Robinson’s column here on TMV mentions it, countless other news organizations mention it, agencies such as AFP mention it, a Google News search mentions it and Romney’s bungle — and there is indeed tape.
So that must mean that all the reporters, analysts etc. that noted this part of the debate are liberals, socialists and liars as well. An argument can be made as to whether Romney could have phrased his assertion more accurately. That’s a different issue from arguing Romney was correct in his assertion.
But the emails to TMV are small potatoes: this morning conservative GOPers have been saying Crowley backtracked on her comment to Romney. That’s a pretty big development.
The only problem now: she says she did no such thing:
Be sure to read The Huffington Post piece about her not backtracking.
Attack and discredit really are the two motifs of American politics now.
But Romney AND Obama need to be forewarned: Crowley made it clear she was not going to do a Jim Lehrer imitation — and most assuredly neither will Bob Schieffer who moderate the debate next week. They both better have their facts straight.
To follow the denunciations on weblogs of Crowley GO HERE.
Here’s Andrew Rosenthal’s take on this:
When George H.W. Bush looked at his watch in a 1992 debate with Bill Clinton and Ross Perot and absolutely bungled a question about how the national debt had affected him personally, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with real Americans’ lives.
When Gerald Ford denied in 1976 that there was any “Soviet domination” of Eastern Europe, he cemented the impression that he was out of touch with pretty much everything.
Tonight, Mitt Romney may have had a similar moment, during a back-and-forth about the attack on the Benghazi Consulate.
Mr. Romney clearly thought he had a big opening and he moved in for the kill when Mr. Obama said he had called the attack a terrorist act the very next day, in a Rose Garden speech.
“I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.”
“That’s what I said,” Mr. Obama replied.
Mr. 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.”
At that point, Candy Crowley, the debate moderator, stepped in. “He did in fact, sir,” she said.
“Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” asked Mr. Obama.
Whoever coached Mr. Romney on that question did the candidate no favors. Here’s what the president said in the Rose Garden: “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.” A little purple– and the administration’s subsequent line on what happened was confusing–but he undeniably used the word “terror.”
FOOTNOTE: It was clear before the debate that if Crowley tried to control it she would be under fire. Those who are now demonizing her now could not have picked a more difficult target to try and discredit. In fact, Crowley has had a highly distinguished career as a broadcast journalist.
She’s not a right wing or left wing ideological talker and not a news personality. She’s a reporter who has been trained to try and gather information which means operating in a fact-based professional world. Asking follow up questions and reminding interview subjects of facts that may be at variance with their declarations is part of that training. She’s someone who is from the “old school” of journalism.
And so is Schieffer. Hopefully, Obama’s and Romney’s handlers will remind them of that,
But what do facts matter in politics anymore?
It’s how many times you say an assertion and get others to say and write it that apparently counts.
But if I’ve figured out the way our politics now operates, now some will say she’s backtracked about backtracking.
She can deny it but, hey, if you say it often enough…
It sure beats writing about Romney’s misfire in the use of the potentially strong Libya issue.
UPDATE: Here’s CNN’s video as issued by them on this:
And we don’t usually run a full post, but here’s CNN’s full post which should set to rest once and for all whether she has backtracked:
Crowley says she did not backtrack on Libya ‘acts of terror’ debate moment
CNN’s Chief Political Correspondent and State of the Union Anchor Candy Crowley addresses moderating the second presidential debate, including the question of whether or not President Obama characterized the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi as “terror” in the Rose Garden the next day. CNN Anchor Soledad O’Brien asks Crowley if charges that she backtracked after the debate are accurate.
Crowley says, “Listen, what I said on that stage is the same thing I said to you actually last night… I was trying to move this along because the question was Benghazi. There is no question that the administration is quite vulnerable on his topic. That they did take weeks to go ‘well actually there really wasn’t a protest and actually didn’t have anything to do with the tape.’ That took a long time. That’s where he was going. That was [Romney’s] first answer…. Then we got hung up on this ‘yes he said,’ ‘no I didn’t,’ ‘I said terror,’ ‘you didn’t say terror.’ And there was this point where they both kind of looked at me…. And what I wanted to do was move this along…. So I said, [The President] did say ‘acts of terror… but Governor Romney, you are perfectly right, that it took weeks for them to get past the tape –.’”
O’Brien asks, “Not a backtrack?”
Crowley responds, “No… Did the President say this was an act of terror? The President did not say…. He said ‘these acts of terror,’ but he was in the Rose Garden to talk about Benghazi so I don’t think that’s a leap.”
Before the commercial break Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT) says he thinks it’s not the role of the moderator to determine who is right or wrong when the debaters are disagreeing.
Crowley responds to Chaffetz’s comments, “Again, I was trying to move them on. They were hung up on this one thing. Now, again, Mitt Romney had gone out and said at first they said it was the tape and they said it was this. And then they got hung up on did he say “act of terror” or did he not? And I was just trying to say he said “acts of terror”, but you’re perfectly correct, they took weeks, two weeks actually was short, they took a month to figure out, or to at least tell us. And then he got back on, yes, the track. “
CNN Contributor Roland Martin adds, “Congressman [Chaffetz] is dead wrong. If you stand there and say something that is wrong you should be corrected on the spot. Look, I have no problem even having a table of fact checkers there. We shouldn’t wait until the debate is over and then have different people saying, ‘well this was right, this was wrong.’”
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.