Kevin Koffler, veteran White House reporter:
"Obama’s misleading contention was adjudicated as accurate by a supposedly neutral moderator. For the first time I can remember in a presidential debate, the moderator got involved and came down on the side of one of the candidates.
And that’s exactly as conservatives feared."
For a good long time during the debate, I was amazed that Candy Crowley seemed quite fair. But at the most pivotal moment during the most important question -and the only question on foreign policy- Crowley intervened on the president's behalf.
...the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president, that's not what I do as Commander in Chief.
CROWLEY: Governor, if you want to...
ROMNEY: Yes, I -- I...
CROWLEY: ... quickly to this please.
ROMNEY: I -- I think interesting the president just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That's what I said.
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: 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.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir. So let me -- let me call it an act of terror...
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He -- 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 there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.
ROMNEY: This -- the administration -- the administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction.
CROWLEY: It did.
ROMNEY: It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group. And to suggest -- am I incorrect in that regard, on Sunday, the -- your secretary --
ROMNEY: Excuse me. The ambassador of the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how --
OBAMA: Candy, I'm --
ROMNEY: -- this was a spontaneous --
CROWLEY: Mr. President, let me --
OBAMA: I'm happy to have a longer conversation --
CROWLEY: I know you --
OBAMA: -- about foreign policy.
CROWLEY: Absolutely. But I want to -- I want to move you on and also --
OBAMA: OK. I'm happy to do that, too.
CROWLEY: -- the transcripts and --
OBAMA: I just want to make sure that --
CROWLEY: -- figure out what we --
OBAMA: -- all of these wonderful folks are going to have a chance to get some of their questions answered.(Read more: http://www.foxnews.com/politics/)
Daniel Pipes makes an interesting point. I hope he's right:
Obama got away with saying that he had characterized the attack on the Benghazi consulate as a terrorist incident because the moderator confirmed his point; in fact he misrepresented the facts when he said "The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that … this was an act of terror."
Reince Priebus, the Republican party chairman, instantly seized on this inaccuracy and accused Obama of lying and others are sure to follow suit. This inaccuracy will likely haunt Obama over the next three weeks and turn the Libyan fiasco into an even bigger problem for his reelection campaign. That will matter more than who "won" the debate.
We'll have to wait and see if this does indeed "haunt" Obama. That will depend in large part on the media -- the very media we so distrust, the same people who got drunk at the debate last night, the same ones who burst into applause during the debate ... when Obama slammed Romney for his wealth.
On the other hand, we have the Frank Luntz focus group. If I hadn't seen this last night, I never would have been able to fall sleep.
Consider it your morning cheer-me-up.