The second presidential debate provided the candidates with several instances to exchange their disagreements, however the detail that most attracts my reading at this point is the Benghazi question that came up nearly 75 minutes into the event. It turned on Mitt Romney arguing that POTUS Obama did not tell the American people accurately that it was a terror attack by an Al Qaeda linked military operation until two weeks after the tragedy. Mr. Obama seized on the small point that he used the word "terror" in his Rose Garden remarks on September 12. Mr. Obama created a problem for himself when he claimed to the audience -- "The day after...I told the American people that this was an act of terror..." This is not accurate. POTUS did not say Benghazi was an "act of terror." POTUS said it was an "outrageous and shocking attack," was "senseless violence." (See above) In the original Rose Garden remarks, the words "acts of terror" did not appear till well afterward in his remarks, and was general language, in the context of 9-11 and sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan. Following the Rose Garden, the Obama administration and the president did continue to regard Benghazi as a mob accident and not an Al Qaeda revenge attack. Susan Rice denied it was terrorism on all the Sunday shows on September 16.
Candy Crowley Stepped In.
This confusing language by the president threw Mr. Romney off his attack. Candy Crowley stepped in and said both candidates were correct. Candy Crowley now remarks (see below) that Mr. Romney had it right, and her memory played her false when she said they were both right. Mr. Obama did not say Benghazi was an "act of terror" on September 12 in the Rose Garden. and Mr. Obama avoided the problem by urging the conversation to move on. The third debate on October 22 is the venue to settle the matter, when Bob Schieffer will ask focused questions on what did the President know and when did he know it from September 11, 2012 to the President's UN speech of September 25, 2012. Perhaps Mr. Romney's missed opportunity in Hempstead sets up a march more damaging attack on the president's foreign policy in the third debate in St, Louis. The White House misspoke on Benghazi. The president continued to avoid the direct question of his administration's mishandling tonight. Mr. Romney did land solid points that the president flew to campaign events within hours of the tragedy without correctly informing the American people. There is still a missing timeline for the attack. The second debate, won on points by an aggressive and peevish POTUS over a sometimes annoyed Mittt Romney, provides no clear indication of the next days ahead. The contest continues a tie after the unusual surge by Mr. Romney since the Denver debate victory. Did Mr. Obama regain the momentum? Unlikely. But Mr. Obama did calm down his partisans from their frantic state these last days. Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi, will the third debate turn on Benghazi?