Conservative Washington Post blogger Jennifer Rubin, who has a reputation for reflexively defending Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, falsely claimed on Sunday that President Barack Obama had not mentioned the attacks in Benghazi, Libya that killed four Americans in the same paragraph with the phrase “acts of terror.”
During last week’s second 2012 presidential debate, moderator Candy Crowley’s instant fact check had briefly stunned the GOP hopeful by undermining his claim that President Barack Obama had not initially referred to the recent attacks in Libya as “acts of terror” during his Rose Garden speech.
Speaking to CNN’s Howard Kurtz on Sunday, Rubin said that Crowley “blew it” by correcting Romney.
“The substance of the question was not whether or not [Obama] said ‘act of terror’ or ‘acts of terror,’ but whether he specifically identified this attack as terrorism,” Rubin opined. “He did not.”
“In the last two paragraphs, he reviewed all of the acts of terrorism that we’ve gone through, and at the end he said, ‘acts of terror’ — not in the same paragraph with Benghazi, never said Benghazi is a terrorist attack,” she insisted. “For her to take sides — and my interpretation may be wrong, I’ll grant you that — for her to take sides and intervene went well beyond [her duties as moderator].”
In fact, the president did refer to the attacks in Benghazi that left U.S. Ambassador Christopher Stevens and three other Americans dead in the same paragraph with the phrase “acts of terror,” according to the official White House transcript:
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.
“I have no idea what you are talking about,” Current TV’s David Shuster told Rubin as he read Obama’s words. “I’m reading from the transcript!”
“No, it wasn’t that,” Rubin said, shaking her head. “And by the way, I don’t think this hurt Mitt Romney whatsoever. His campaign doesn’t think it hurt Mitt Romney whatsoever. They’re delighted to have this issue front and center.”
“For you of all people to criticize Candy Crowley when she didn’t get the precise language when everybody knew what the president was talking about,” Shuster shot back. “I mean, it wasn’t some sort of mistake like [you] suggesting the Norway attacks were some specific jihadist connection.”
“He’s the Joe Biden of Reliable Sources!” Rubin exclaimed, referring to a recent debate where Vice President Joe Biden interrupted Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan.
Media Matters’ Simon Maloy on Sunday questioned why Rubin was “so blatantly lying and mischaracterizing the president’s words” when she had nearly a week to read the official transcript.
“The answer can be gleaned from a comment she made towards the end of the video above about the ‘acts of terror’ flap: ‘I don’t think this hurt Mitt Romney whatsoever. His campaign doesn’t think it hurt Mitt Romney whatsoever.’ That lock-step synchronicity with the Romney campaign crystallizes the broadly held opinion of Rubin’s increasingly embarrassing work for the Washington Post,” Maloy wrote.
Watch this video from CNN’s Reliable Sources, broadcast Oct. 21, 2012.