CNN host Candy Crowley on Wednesday stood her ground and refused to backtrack as a surrogate for Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney insisted that she had been “wrong” to fact check the GOP hopeful’s claim that President Barack Obama had not referred to the attacks in Libya as “acts of terror.”
While moderating Tuesday night’s second 2012 presidential debate, Crowley had briefly stunned Romney when she undermined his claim that Obama had not taken the Benghazi attacks seriously.
“He did call it an act of terror,” she had told the former Massachusetts governor. “It did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out.”
By the next morning, conservatives were insisting that Crowley had backtracked because she later explained that Romney was “right in the main” but “picked the wrong word” by saying that Obama had not called the attacks terrorism.
“This morning, Paul Ryan, who has been making the rounds on the morning shows, says, ‘Well, she’s already backtracked,’” CNN host Soledad O’Brien pointed out to Crowley on Wednesday morning. “Are you backtracking on what you said in that fact check last night?”
“Goodness, I hope they get back to one another,” Crowley replied, adding that her comments following the debate were “exactly the same” as the original fact check. “He did say ‘acts of terror,’ call it an act of terror, but, Gov. Romney, you are perfectly right that it took weeks for them to get past the tape.”
“Not a backtrack?” O’Brien wondered.
“No!” Crowley said. “Now, did the president say, ‘This was an act of terror’? The president did not say [that], 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.”
Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-UT), who was appearing on Wednesday morning’s CNN panel as a Romney surrogate, told Crowley that “it wasn’t necessarily your place to try to be fact checker right there. I happen to think that your assessment of that was wrong. … It’s not the role of the moderator to say, ‘Mr. President, you’re right.’”
“Nonsense,” CNN liberal contributor Roland Martin quipped. “The congressman 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, this was right, this was wrong. More people are watching that singular debate than they’re watching anyone’s particular coverage.”
“And so if you say something and it’s wrong, you check them right then,” he added.
Watch this video from CNN’s Starting Point, broadcast Oct. 17, 2012.