Debate moderator Candy Crowley speaks to the audience before the start of during the second U.S. presidential campaign debate in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012. (Photo : Reuters)
Crowley took cues from Martha Raddatz, lauded moderator of the vice-presidential debate, who aggressively questioned both Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan and their assertions, rather than Jim Lehrer, whose hands-off, vague approach in the first presidential debate was widely-panned.
At one point, Romney claimed that President Obama waited two weeks to call the attack on the American embassy in Benghazi, Libya, an act of terror. Obama did, in fact, call it that the day after the attacks, in a speech in the White House Rose Garden.
When Romney continued to assert the point after Obama's refutations, Crowley stepped in to correct the Republican challenger.
"He did call it an act of terror," Crowley said.
"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," she continued, agreeing with part of Romney's point, that it took too long for the administration to declare unequivocally that the attack was solely terrorism.
Former New Hampshire governor and Republican commentator John Sununu said, "Candy was wrong, and Candy had no business doing that, and Candy didn't even keep time right."
"He did not call it a terror incident," said conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer on Fox News.
"There was a big opening that was missed. I think it was contaminated by the actions of the moderator," he continued.
For her part, Crowley said she was just moving the discussion along. "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 told CNN's Soledad O'Brien.
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