Second Presidential Debate, Pt. 2
During the second Presidential Debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead (N.Y.), Kerry Ladka was selected to ask a question. Ladka identified himself as an employee at Global Telecom Supply in Minneola.
Ladka asked about the Libya controversy and what should have been a disaster for President Barack Obama ended up as a spin opportunity aided by debate moderator Candy Crowley of CNN. Our First Lady also assisted.
Ladka phrased his question this way:
This question actually comes from a brain trust of my friends at Global Telecom Supply (ph) in Minneola yesterday. We were sitting around, talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans.
First, recall what Crowley said as the debate began. From a pool of 82 “uncommitted voters from the New York area,” the questions were selected by Crowley:
The questions are known to me and my team only. Neither the commission, nor the candidates have seen them. I hope to get to as many questions as possible.
If Ladka and his friends came up with the question “yesterday,” that would have been on Monday. The debate was on Tuesday.
Did the question come in late and Crowley thought it so great she pulled it out of the mix?
Was there no deadline for submissions?
Those aren’t the most troubling curiosities.
You have to watch the video to understand; Ladka’s segment begins with Crowley’s intro at approximately 1:07:19; I snipped that passage from C-SPAN and you can watch on the video above.
Crowley said, "I want you to talk to Kerry Ladka who wants to switch the topic for us."
Before Ladka stands, Obama turns to the section where Ladka is sitting and says, “Hi, Ker.”
Then Obama appears to have a moment. What kind of moment I couldn’t tell. The president then says, “I’m sorry, what’s your name?”
The top curious moment occurred, however, when Gov. Mitt Romney, the Republican nominee, had his turn on the question. Some of us believe what transpired next was inexcusable on Crowley’s part.
And there was no demonstration involved. It was a terrorist attack and it took a long time for that to be told to the American people.
What happened next raises serious questions that should be addressed by officials in charge of these debates [boldface added]:
ROMNEY: I -- I think interesting the president just said something which -- which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That's what I said.
ROMNEY: 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?
OBAMA: Please proceed governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It -- it -- it -- he did in fact, sir. So let me -- let me call it an act of terror...
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: 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.
Crowley’s a known brand, I’m told. I’m not familiar with her work. But I’ve covered the Libya affair since the first protest drew attention at the U.S. Embassy in Egypt. It did not “take two weeks” for the film tale to emerge. I immediately knew she was misleading viewers.
And that’s where the bigger issue comes in. Did Obama happen to bring that particular transcript with him? How did he know a transcript was on hand? Did Crowley have a copy handy? That was the most instantaneous faux fact check I’ve ever witnessed.
Crowley injected herself into this exchange as a de facto surrogate for Obama.
However, she failed to point out that Romney’s first statement came in response to statements from the Embassy in Cairo, and it came after the administration had apologized for a film no one ever heard of. She chose to intercede for only one candidate, the president.
Romney’s statement was far more appropriate than the apologies the Obama administration delivered because the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution needed to be broadcast around the world.
Crowley interceded for her president, as evidenced by her and Obama’s actions after the exchange. Romney attempted to address it; she cut the governor off.
Crowley literally threw a key moment in that debate.
This was a hoodwink moment, with a moderator running interference for a president whose actions after Libya were not only incompetent but also insulting.
Obama did not specify that what happened in Libya was an “act of terror” in his Rose Garden address.
In a statement that ran approximately 800 words, Obama said, “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation…”
That statement came at the end, only after Obama talked about the original attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.Early on, in the fourth paragraph, Obama talked about denigrating others’ religion.
As Crowley successfully rescued Obama, First Lady Michelle Obama began to clap loudly, a serious and insulting breach of protocol. Viewers got the impression the audience clapped along.
Real Clear Politics said:
Nearly all of the audible applause came from those sitting away from the actual debate, but when FOX News' camera shot moved to a bird's-eye view it became apparent that the only applause from the participating debate audience came from first lady Michelle Obama. Mitt Romney's wife Ann was also sitting with the debate participants.
Obama’s incompetent response to the Libya attacks was thus downplayed in front of millions of Americans. Usually, we call such tactics propaganda. I’d also call this whole incident a setup on behalf of a president whose poll numbers were in decline.
(Analysis by Kay B. Day/Oct. 18, 2012)
Related at The US Report
Abandonment of First Amendment [A Timeline of Sept. 11 protests and attacks]