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Candy Crowley defends her Libya fact-checking during debate

October 17, 2012|By Meredith Blake

Wednesday morning on CNN, Candy Crowley defended her moderation of Tuesday’s presidential debate  -- and in particular, her on-the-spot fact-checking of Mitt Romney’s claims about President Obama’s response to the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

During the debate, Romney alleged that Obama had taken weeks to describe the incident as a terrorist act. Crowley intervened, saying that the president “did in fact” call the attack an “act of terror” in his comments the following day and encouraging Romney to move on.

Her assertive performance has drawn howls about "liberal media bias" from the right, including from Rep. Paul D. Ryan, who accused her of backtracking on the Libya issue.

Crowley explained to Soledad O’Brien that her original goal was not to fact-check Romney's claims, but to steer the candidates away from their semantic squabbling and toward more substantive issues.

“We got hung up on this ‘yes he said,’ ‘no I didn’t,’ ‘I said terror,’ ‘you didn’t say terror.’ And there was this point where they both kind of looked at me.... And what I wanted to do was move this along,” she said.

In something of a rebuke to her right-leaning critics, Crowley also said, “There is no question that the administration is quite vulnerable on this topic. That they did take weeks to go, ‘Well, actually there really wasn’t a protest and actually didn’t have anything to do with the tape.' "

For the record, she also used almost the exact same words last night, debunking Romney’s “act of terror” claim in the same breath that she also said he was right about the administration's delayed response: " 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."

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