The second presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley was heavily criticized this morning after appearing to side with Barack Obama during last night’s debate.
CNN’s chief political correspondent Candy Crowley told Mitt Romney that he was wrong about remarks Barack Obama had made last month in the aftermath of the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Libya.
During a question about security at the Benghazi consulate, where four American officials were killed, including the ambassador Chris Stevens, on September 11, Barack Obama said he was ultimately responsible as commander-in-chief.
Mitt Romney then questioned whether Barack Obama had called the consulate attack an “act of terror” in his Rose Garden address the following day.
While Barack Obama cut across Mitt Romney – saying “look at the transcript” – Candy Crowley then seemed to back up the President, telling the Republican governor that Obama did “call it an act of terror”.
Her interjection angered political commentators, who said she had stepped in on behalf of the President.
Breitbart editor Ben Shapiro called the moderator’s reactions a “disgrace” while his colleague John Nolte said Candy Crowley “lied to save Obama”.
Candy Crowley often struggled to control the candidates as they spoke over each other amid angry exchanges.
During the debate, Barack Obama said: “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.”
Mitt Romney then questioned the veracity of Barack Obama’s remarks. He said: “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.”
While Mitt Romney then continued to question Barack Obama’s claims, Candy Crowley interjected: “He [Obama] did in fact, sir.”
Barack Obama then said: “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” to laughter and applause from the audience.
Candy Crowley told Mitt Romney that he was wrong about remarks Barack Obama had made last month in the aftermath of the attacks on the US consulate in Libya
Then rather belatedly, Candy Crowley told Romney: “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 of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.”
During his Rose Garden address on September 12, the day following the attack in Benghazi, Barack Obama said: “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.”
Many commentators have said that while he did use the phrase he did not explicitly say the killings were the result of terrorist action.
The attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi was a talking point again during Vice President Joe Biden’s debate last week.
Joe Biden claimed in the debate with Republican VP nominee Paul Ryan that “we weren’t told” about requests for extra security at the consulate.
On Monday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was forced to come to his defense.
Pushing back against Republican criticism of the Obama administration for its handling of the situation, Hillary Clinton said that security at all of America’s diplomatic missions abroad is her job, not that of the White House.
Hillary Clinton said: “I take responsibility…. The president and the vice president wouldn’t be knowledgeable about specific decisions that are made by security professionals.”
The Libya question was one moment when Candy Crowley struggled to rein in the debate on Tuesday night.
Candy Crowley failed to shut down both Barack Obama and Mitt Romney when they ran over allocated times and attacked each other in angry exchanges.
In her opening statement at the town hall debate in New York, Candy Crowley said: “Because I am the optimistic sort, I’m sure the candidates will oblige by keeping their answers concise and on point.”
It was revealed from CNN timekeeping on the debate, that Barack Obama had spoke for three extra minutes
The President got 44:04 minutes of speaking time, while Romney got 40:50.
Barack Obama and Mitt Romney had both revealed their concern over Candy Crowley ahead of tonight’s second presidential debate because she was robust in saying beforehand that she would not shirk from guiding the debate.
Lawyers for both Democratic and Republican campaigns complained about comments the CNN journalist made ahead of the town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York tonight.
Her job was to referee the two presidential candidates as they answered questions from online viewers and members of the audience.
But in an interview, she indicated that she planned to take a more aggressive stance than the last moderator Jim Lehrer who was roundly criticized for a listless performance and letting Barack Obama and Mitt Romney walk all over him.
Where PBS veteran Jim Lehrer said his job was to stay out of the way, Candy Crowley’s planning a different set of tactics.
The political correspondent said: “Once the table is kind of set by the town hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, <<Hey, wait a second, what about x, y, z?>>”
Both candidates appeared less than pleased with her remarks – and they weren’t the only ones.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has also complained, saying Candy Crowley’s remarks are vastly different from the memo that was signed by lawyers for both campaigns.
“In managing the two-minute comment periods, the moderator will not rephrase the question or open a new topic,” the legal document obtained by Time says.
The political heat already facing Candy Crowley shows just how much rests on the second televised debate for both candidates.
Candy Crowley is the first CNN anchor to moderate a general election presidential debate since the 1988 face-off between George HW Bush and Massachusetts Gov. Michael Dukakis.
Barack Obama has hit out at Republican Mitt Romney during a feisty 90-minute encounter in the second of three presidential debates.
Barack Obama – widely perceived to have lost their first encounter – came out swinging in New York on the economy, tax and foreign policy.
But the former Massachusetts governor accused Barack Obama of broken promises and a record of failure.
They will meet for a final pre-election debate in Florida on 22 October.
As he battles for a second term, the Democratic president has been trying to hold on to dwindling leads in the nine key swing states that are expected to decide the election on 6 November.
In the town hall-style forum at Hofstra University on Long Island, both men freely roamed the stage, circling, interrupting and at times heckling one another as they took questions from an audience of 80 undecided voters.
The moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, often had to intervene to keep order between the rivals as each fought to make his point.
Barack Obama set the tone from his first answer, when he contrasted his own bailout of the US car industry with Mitt Romney’s position that auto-makers should have been allowed to go bankrupt.
The president forcefully accused Mitt Romney of inconsistent positions, while claiming that his challenger could only offer a “one-point plan… to make sure the folks at the top play by a different set of rules”.
Mitt Romney meanwhile hammered away at the president’s record on the economy, blaming him for unemployment of 20 million Americans and bloated federal deficits, insisting the country could not afford another four years with Barack Obama at the helm.
In one of the most scathing exchanges, they bickered over last month’s attack on the US Libya consulate that left four Americans dead.
Mitt Romney suggested the Obama administration may have attempted to mislead Americans over whether it was a terrorist attack.
But the president said it was “offensive” to suggest that he had played politics on such a grave issue.
He countered that it was the Republican who had tried to turn a national tragedy to his advantage by releasing a partisan press release about the deadly assault.
As the debate progressed, both candidates made repeated and impassioned pitches to America’s middle class.
Barack Obama said he had cut taxes for middle class families and small businesses over the last four years.
But he said that if America was serious about reducing the deficit, the wealthy would have to pay a little bit more.
“Governor Romney and his allies in Congress have held the 98% hostage because they want tax breaks for the 2%,” said Barack Obama.
In his final answer he responded to an assertion by Mitt Romney that the Republican would represent “100% of Americans” by bringing up Romney’s secretly recorded remarks at a fundraiser in May.
In those remarks the challenger dismissed 47% of Americans as government-dependent tax avoiders who take no responsibility for their lives.
“When he said behind closed doors that 47% of the country considers themselves victims who refuse personal responsibility – think about who he was talking about,” the president said.
Barack Obama said voters had heard no specifics on Mitt Romney’s “sketchy” tax plan apart from eliminating Sesame Street’s Big Bird and cutting funding for Planned Parenthood, a family planning organization Republicans say promotes abortion.
“Of course it adds up,” Mitt Romney said of his tax plan. He cited his experience balancing budgets in business, while running the 2002 Olympics and as governor of Massachusetts.
Barack Obama ticked off a list of achievements over the last four years: tax cuts for the middle class; ending the war in Iraq, killing Osama Bin Laden; helping the auto industry, as well as healthcare reform.
But Mitt Romney said the last four years had not been as rosy as the president would like to portray, saying the president had made pledges to deliver unemployment of 5.4%, an immigration plan, and to cut in half the deficit, but had met none of them.
“The president’s tried, but his policies haven’t worked,” said Mitt Romney.
One of the sharpest exchanges of the debate came when the pair clashed over former private equity chief Mitt Romney’s wealth.
Mitt Romney was defending his investments in China through a blind trust when he asked Barack Obama if he had looked at his own pension. He said Barack Obama would find investments in China in his retirement plan, too.
Barack Obama countered that he did not check his pension that often, adding: “Because it’s not as big as yours.”
Another fragment of the debate prompted a flurry of social media comment.
Arguing that he supports equal opportunities for women, Mitt Romney said he once had “binders full of women” candidates for cabinet jobs when he was Massachusetts governor.
The third and final presidential debate is scheduled for 22 October in Boca Raton, Florida.
President Barack Obama’s team says he will make a “strong” comeback in Tuesday’s debate rematch with his Republican challenger Mitt Romney.
Top aide Robert Gibbs says he expects Barack Obama to be “energetic” after his passive showing in the first debate.
The rivals will take questions on domestic and foreign policy from an audience of 80 undecided voters at a town hall-style forum in New York.
With 21 days to go until the election, the race is essentially deadlocked.
As he battles for a second term, the Democratic president is trying to hang on to narrow leads in many of the nine key swing states that are expected to decide who will win the White House.
The 90-minute debate at Hofstra University on Long Island starts at 21:00 EDT on Tuesday. It will be moderated by CNN chief political correspondent Candy Crowley.
The president’s campaign dropped the usual pre-debate tactic of lowering expectations, to adopt a more bullish, upbeat tone.
Barack Obama’s team says he will make a strong comeback in Tuesday’s debate rematch with Mitt Romney
Robert Gibbs, a senior Obama aide, told MSNBC on Tuesday: “I think you will see somebody who will be strong, who will be passionate, who will be energetic.”
Mitt Romney – who has risen in the opinion polls since his first encounter this month with Barack Obama in Denver, Colorado – will aim to pull off another assured performance.
Barack Obama has been preparing for the debate since Saturday at a golf resort in the city of Williamsburg, Virginia. Mitt Romney’s advisers are putting him through his paces in his home state of Massachusetts.
“President Obama is going to have a better night than he had at the first debate,” Mitt Romney spokesman Ryan Williams said.
He added that the Republican expects his rival to “come out swinging with dishonest and negative attacks”.
After the last debate, Democrats questioned why Barack Obama did not challenge Mitt Romney over his policies on tax, healthcare and jobs.
They also complained that Barack Obama had allowed the Republican to soften some of his most conservative stances.
Barack Obama campaign aides say the president will not make the same mistake this time.
But the rivals must also strike a balance between attacking each other without coming across as too negative in front of the audience and the tens of millions of Americans watching on television.
On the eve of the debate, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton took responsibility for last month’s sacking of the US consulate in Libya, which the Romney campaign has used to attack the White House.
Hillary Clinton said that she – and not the president or vice-president – was to blame for any security lapses before the 11 September assault on the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, which left the US ambassador and three other Americans dead.
The Romney campaign has claimed the Libyan raid shows that the president’s foreign policy is “unravelling”, and the issue could well come up again in Tuesday’s clash.
The third and final presidential debate is scheduled for 22 October in Boca Raton, Florida.