TheBlaze’s Jason Howerton contributed to this report.
Photo credit: Getty Images
One of the big moments from Tuesday’s presidential debate between Barack Obama and former Gov. Mitt Romney occurred when moderator Candy Crowley of CNN injected herself into the discussion after Romney accused the president of refusing to refer to the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi as a terrorist act.
“I think (it’s) 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,” said Gov. Romney.
“That’s what I said,” the president responded.
“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?”
“Please proceed, governor.”
“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.”
“Get the transcript.”
“It — it — it — he did in fact, sir,” Crowley said, offering the president what looked to be a little debate assistance.
“Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” the president asked confidently.
“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,” Crowley said.
“This — the administration — the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction,” Romney noted.
“It did,” Crowley agreed.
However, not long after the debate, Crowley explained during a CNN interview that Gov. Romney was “right in the main,” but that he used the wrong word:
“I heard the president’s speech at the time. I re-read a lot of stuff about Libya because I knew we’d probably get a Libya question,” Crowley told CNN’s Anderson Cooper.
“We knew that the president had said, ‘These acts of terrors won’t stand,’ or whatever the whole quote was. I think, actually, you know, because right after that, I did turn around and say [to Gov. Romney], ‘but you’re totally correct … they spent two weeks telling us this was about a tape and that there was this, you know, riot outside the Benghazi consulate, which there wasn’t.’ So [Gov. Romney] was right in the main. I just think he picked the wrong word.”
Here’s what Obama said the day after the Libya attack in the Rose Garden, according to the transcript:
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.
But we also know that the lives these Americans led stand in stark contrast to those of their attackers. These four Americans stood up for freedom and human dignity. They should give every American great pride in the country that they served, and the hope that our flag represents to people around the globe who also yearn to live in freedom and with dignity.
So while Obama did say “acts of terror” in his first public statement on the attack, Romney is still correct when he says the president blamed a wholly insignificant YouTube video and non-existent protests for the attacks in Libya.
For example, when the president appeared on “The View” on September 25, days after his Rose Garden speech, he blamed the Benghazi assault on an anti-Muslim video.
Furthermore, when asked directly if it was terrorism, he said: “We are still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action. Now, we don’t have all the information yet, so we are still gathering it.”
Lastly, multiple Obama administration officials repeatedly blamed the deadly Libya attack on the video for more than a week, including U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice and White House Press Secretary Jay Carney.
Follow Becket Adams (@BecketAdams) on Twitter
This story has been updated.