Obama — And The Moderator — Call Romney Out For Libya Falsehood

In a defining exchange of the second presidential debate Wednesday night, Mitt Romney repeated a false claim about President Obama’s reaction to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya — and got called out by the moderator.

“The [P]resident just said something which is on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said this was an act of terror. 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? Want to get that for the record, because it took the President 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”

In fact, on the morning after the attack, Obama addressed the nation from the Rose Garden and 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. Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.”

Both Obama and debate moderator Candy Crowley brought this to Romney’s attention.

“He did in fact, sir, call it an act of terror,” Crowley said.

“Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” Obama joked.

“He did call it an act of terror,” Crowley repeated.

Some of Obama’s critics have flat out denied that Obama referred to the Benghazi attack as an act of terrorism the morning after it occurred. Others have suggested Obama may have been referring to the September 11, 2001 attacks in New York and D.C.

But two days later, Obama repeated his statements less ambiguously.

“So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice,” he said on September 13. “I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.”

Romney’s claim, echoed by scores of conservatives and GOP critics, that Obama waited two weeks to call the attack an act of terrorism is incorrect.

Dear Reader,

When we asked recently what makes TPM different from other outlets, readers cited factors like honesty, curiosity, transparency, and our vibrant community. They also pointed to our ability to report on important stories and trends long before they are picked up by mainstream outlets; our ability to contextualize information within the arc of history; and our focus on the real-world consequences of the news.

Our unique approach to reporting and presenting the news, however, wouldn’t be possible without our readers’ support. That’s not just marketing speak, it’s true: our work would literally not be possible without readers deciding to become members. Not only does member support account for more than 80% of TPM’s revenue, our members have helped us build an engaged and informed community. Many of our best stories were born from reader tips and valuable member feedback.

We do what other news outlets can’t or won’t do because our members’ support gives us real independence.

If you enjoy reading TPM and value what we do, become a member today.

Latest Dc
Masthead Masthead
Founder & Editor-in-Chief:
Executive Editor:
Managing Editor:
Associate Editor:
Investigations Desk:
Editor at Large:
General Counsel:
Head of Product:
Director of Technology:
Associate Publisher:
Front End Developer:
Senior Designer: