In an eye-opening moment of candor, the co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates is now admitting the decision to have CNN’s Candy Crowley moderate the second presidential debate between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney last October was a “mistake.”
“We made one mistake this time: Her name is Candy,” said Frank Fahrenkopf in a speech to the conservative Keystone Group at the Las Vegas Country Club Tuesday.
Crowley became the center of a firestorm when, during her role as debate moderator, she backed President Obama’s claim he had referred to the Sept. 11, 2012, attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi as a terrorist attack the day after the onslaught.
Crowley, a news reporter for CNN, later admitted Obama in actuality had not done so, saying the president on Sept. 12 merely referred to “acts of terror” in general.
Steve Kroft of CBS News conducted an interview with Obama on Sept. 12, and Obama refused to call the mayhem in Benghazi that left four Americans dead an act of terror:
The immediate reviews of Crowley right after the debate were less than congratulatory.
Breitbart.com columnist William Bigelow said: “Crowley interrupted Romney 28 times – 28 times. Her desperation to keep Romney from scoring points was so patently obvious that it wasn’t really a surprise when she had her infamous moment: the moment when she interrupted and falsely claimed Romney was incorrect in accusing Obama of refusing to call the Benghazi attack an act of terror. … “After the question asking whether gas prices as they stand now are the new normal, Obama got two chances to respond. When Romney asked for his second chance, Crowley shut him off by saying, ‘ … in the follow up, it doesn’t quite work like that. But I’m going to give you a chance here. I promise you, I’m going to.’ She didn’t.”
Daniel Greenman of FrontPageMag said of Crowley: “Not only was she a liar and wrong .. but attempting to fact check Romney was so far outside her role in the debate that she was acting like the third candidate. And the fact that there will be no accountability for her misbehavior or her lying is another reminder of why moderators should no longer come from the journalist class.”
And radio host Rush Limbaugh said: “In a real world, she woulda committed career suicide last night, in the real world. In the media world I grew up in, her career would be finished. It won’t be now, because she gave it her all for the good guys. She gave it all for the right side. But she committed an act of journalistic terror, or malpractice, last night. If there were any journalistic standards, what she did last night would have been the equivalent of blowing up her career like a suicide bomber. But there aren’t any journalistic standards anymore. She’s going to be praised and celebrated, probably get a raise, maybe give her another half hour on that show she hosts.”
Crowley defended herself against the critics, saying she was not trying to “fact check,” but just trying to move the debate along.
“It didn’t come to me as I’m going to fact check that. It came to me as let’s get past this … . To me I was really trying to move the conversation along … This is a semantic thing,” Crowley said on “The View.”
RalstonReports says Fahrenkopf had a few other interesting tidbits in his Las Vegas address.
Regarding the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney and the pre-event walk-though with Obama and Mike McCurry, the ex-Clinton spokesman who co-chairs the commission with him now, Fahrenkopf said of Obama, “It was very clear that he was not focused.” He speculated that Obama perhaps thought, “I’m the president all day long – I don’t have to prepare.”
He also told the Republican audience that while media bias is real, they needed to “live with it.”
Fahrenkopf flayed the national media, saying, “Rumor and innuendos previously never seen the light of day are hard news now.”
He concluded by complaining about the toxic environment in Washington, D.C.
Fahrenkopf said lawmakers “don’t know each other so they don’t trust each other. … The key is to foster the ability of members to be able to disagree agreeably over interpretations of the same set of facts.”