Romney right, Obama and water-carrier Crowley wrong on ‘act of terror’ claim

In response to Hofstra presidential debate participant Kerry Ladka’s question about Benghazi, President Obama claimed that he called the attack an “act of terror” during his Rose Garden appearance the day after four Americans were murdered by jihadists.

Mitt Romney immediately challenged the statement — and CNN moderator Candy Crowley jumped in on Obama’s side.

Obama urged people to look at the transcript. Water-carrying Crowley should have done so before she opened her mouth and misled millions of viewers. Read in full context:

Flashback, September 30, Commentary Magazine:

Obama said during the speech that “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation” — but at no point was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi. He’d also spent the previous two paragraphs discussing the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath. “Acts of terror” could have just as easily been a reference to that. Or maybe it wasn’t a direct reference to anything, just a generic, reassuring line he’d added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks. Here’s the line with some additional context:

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

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.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

If Obama wanted to call the Benghazi assault a terrorist attack in that speech, he had plenty of opportunities to do so. Instead, he described it as a “terrible act,” a “brutal” act, “senseless violence,” and called the attackers “killers,” not terrorists. It’s also important to consider the context. For a week after this speech, the White House would not call it a terrorist attack. The official position was that Libya was a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam film, not a premeditated or preplanned act.

Here’s the full transcript and here’s what Obama and Crowley didn’t acknowledge about how he characterized the jihadi attack:

We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None.

Who will fact-check Crowley?

On Twitter, informed viewers are doing it for themselves:

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UPDATE: CNN walks it back.

UPDATE: TPM’s Josh Marshall steps into Candy Crowley lapdog costume; vid of Crowley walk-back

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