October 17th, 2012

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.’”

Starting Point with Soledad O’Brien airs weekday morning from 7-9am ET on CNN.