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Charlie Sykes: Sykes Writes

Obama... and Crowley Mislead On Libya

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THE CLAIM: Obama Gave A Misleading Response About His Reaction To The Terrorist Attack In Libya. OBAMA: "Secretary Clinton has done an extraordinary job. But she works for me. I'm the president. And I'm always responsible. And that's why nobody is more interested in finding out exactly what happened than I did (sic). The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and 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. And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families." (President Barack Obama, Presidential Debate, Hempstead, N.Y., 10/16/12)

 

THE FACTS: The Washington Post 's Fact Checker: Obama Did Not Say "Terrorism" In The Rose Garden And "It Took The Administration Days To Concede That That It Was An 'Act Of Terrorism'" Unrelated To The Video. "What did Obama say in the Rose Garden a day after the attack in Libya? 'No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation,' he said. But he did not say 'terrorism'-and it took the administration days to concede that that it was an 'act of terrorism' that appears unrelated to initial reports of anger at a video that defamed the prophet Muhammad." (Glenn Kessler, "Fact Check: Libya Attack," The Washington Post's The Fact Checker, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: Politico 's Mike Allen: In The Rose Garden, Obama Said "Very Generally, We Will Not Let Acts Of Terror Go Unpunished." POLITICO's MIKE ALLEN: "There's going to be a bunch of fact checks, but just to do a fact check here. When Governor Romney said that Obama had been slow in calling the Libya attack terrorism and the President said 'oh wait a minute, in the Rose Garden, the day after, I referred to an act of terror', Candy Crowley stepped in and said that he was right. It's actually arguable. And I'm looking at the transcript of that White House event the day after and he started by referring to them as selfless acts, which is casted very differently than the sort of very planned action that we now have. Later toward the end, he makes a reference to 9/11 and he says, very generally, we will not let acts of terror go unpunished. So that's going to be an arguable point." (Presidential Debate Wrap-Up, Politico Live, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: In Obama's Rose Garden Remarks, "He Did Not Explicitly Refer To The Benghazi Attack As An 'Act Of Terror,' Though He Did Use Those Words." "Romney said during Tuesday night's debate that it took 14 days for Obama to acknowledge that the attack was a terrorist attack, while Obama and CNN's Candy Crowley agreed that Obama said so Sept. 12 in remarks in the Rose Garden. In those remarks, journalists noticed, he did not explicitly refer to the Benghazi attack as an 'act of terror,' though he did use those words. '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,' he said." (Josh Rogin, "Obama Did Call Benghazi Attack 'An Act Of Terror' - In Colorado," Foreign Policy 's The Cable, 10/16/12)

THE FACTS: The Washington Post 's Fact Checker: "From Our Many Years Of Covering Diplomacy We Would Say There Is A World Of Difference" Between Acknowledging Terrorism And Referring To "Acts Of Terror." "Note: we added this statement to the timeline after Josh Gerstein of Politico asserted that the phrasing 'acts of terror' showed Obama acknowledged 'terrorism' was behind the attack. From our many years of covering diplomacy we would say there is a world of difference, but readers can draw their own conclusions." (Glenn Kessler, "From Video To Terrorist Attack: A Definitive Timeline Of Administration Statements On The Libya Attack," The Washington Post 's Fact Checker, 9/27/12)

THE FACTS: CNN's Candy Crowley Said Governor Romney Was "Right" That Obama Didn't Call Libya A Terrorist Attack. CNN's JOHN KING: "By misspeaking about exactly what the president said the day after, Governor Romney has now, he is in this fact check environment, this should be a problem for the president. This should not be a problem for what Governor Romney said in the debate. Because He was wrong about - the president did generically refer to an act of terror the day after. We are correcting - Candy corrected Governor Romney on the spot. And so we are having a question. What did Governor Romney say as opposed to what did the administration do. So Governor Romney's choice of words there was a poor one. So he's being fact checked, and that takes something away from him. I would make this argument. This is going to be done in studios like this in Washington and New York and we're going to talk about it. Our undecided voters out there in the country and lots of undecided voters in the battleground states that are going to make their decisions based on what happened in Libya or based on who they think is going to have a better economic plan. I vote the latter." CNN's ANDERSON COOPER: "I totally agree. I mean this is a murky situation. I think Candy had it right. Romney clearly got it wrong. On one fact, but there's a bigger story. Surely we're not going to spend a lot of time on trying to start or litigate. "Let's bring in Candy, though. Candy, because this was a moment which obviously now both campaigns are going to be focusing on. Tell us your thoughts during that moment." CNN's CANDY CROWLEY: "Well, you know, again, I heard the president's speech at the time. I sort of re-read a lot of stuff about Libya, because I knew we'd probably get a Libya question, so I kind of wanted to be up on it. So I knew that the president had said, you know, 'these acts of terror won't stand' or whatever the whole quote was. And I think actually, because right after that, I did turn around and say but you are totally correct that they spent two weeks telling us that this was about a tape and that there was this riot outside the Benghazi consulate, which there wasn't. So he was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word. They're going to parse and we all know what the definition of 'is' is, but, you know, in the end, I think John's probably right." (CNN's "Debate Night In America," 10/16/12)

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