I predicted yesterday that the mainstream media had already written their “Obama’s awesome comeback” headlines for today and would run with them regardless of what happened in last night’s debate, and that Candy Crowley would do whatever she could to facilitate that meme. As Steve noted last night, Crowley took the unprecedented step of backing up one of Obama’s too-many-to-count lies by claiming Romney was wrong, only to admit a couple hours later (after the damage had been done) that Romney was in fact correct all along. Dan Gainor of Fox News notes that Crowley, in effect, shed her umpire uniform for Team Obama’s colors:
In the baseball playoffs, the tie goes to the runner. In debates, ties are decided by the moderator and that’s what happened during the Tuesday night presidential debate at Hofstra University in New York. CNN’s Candy Crowley made her presence felt as a moderator in a major way on two points, but none larger than the issue of Libya.
The terrorist attack that killed Ambassador Chris Stevens and four others in Benghazi has become a sore point for Obama, but Crowley made sure she called Romney out before Obama could tag him.
When Romney said Obama had not called the attack an act of terror for 14 days, Crowley interrupted and said: “It — it — it — he did in fact, sir. So let me — let me call it an act of terror.”
Naturally, Obama asked her to restate her point and she did. “Can you say that a little louder, Candy?” asked the president. “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,” she continued.
Even some of Crowley’s usually reliable allies in the pro-Obama mainstream media were skeptical of Crowley’s claim:
Even Politico’s Mike Allen called the Crowley point “arguable” and pointed to the transcript of Obama’s statement saying it “generally” referred to “acts of terror.” CNN’s John King called the Obama statement a “generic” comment about terror, not specifically calling the Libya attack a terrorist act.
Probably the most disturbing fact about this whole corrupt episode is that Crowley admitted she went after Romney at the behest of … Obama:
But Crowley also admitted she took her cue to intervene from Obama. She said Libya was where Romney “tripped himself up.” But she clearly helped. After Romney made his point she cut in. “The president kept looking at me, going you … and I thought, well, I did know that, I said, he, you, he did, call it an act of terror.” She then chastised Romney because “he picked that one wrong fact.”
That’s astonishing. Imagine for a moment what the media reaction would be if a Republican had successfully prompted a debate moderator to interrupt a Democrat and falsely accuse said Democrat of lying in front of a national audience. I don’t know who in Romney’s camp approved of a partisan hack like Crowley as a debate moderator, but that individual should be fired yesterday. Of course when Obama was making demonstrably false claims like he supports traditional energy (despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary) and believes in free-market capitalism, to name just two of several dozen, Crowley remained silent and was perfectly fine with allowing the Messiah to peddle his nonsense uninterrupted. There are a couple other noteworthy facts about Crowley’s “objectivity”. First, as Breitbart’s William Bigelow notes, Crowley interrupted Romney no less than 28 times:
In the first presidential debate, Jim Lehrer, no slouch at shilling for the Democratic Party, interrupted Mitt Romney 15 times and Barack Obama only five.
Crowley made Lehrer look like an amateur. She interrupted Obama nine times, (although four of those were when he wouldn’t respect the time limit when discussing assault weapons; he went over his time limit all night long), but when it came to Mitt Romney, she was utterly beyond the pale.
Crowley interrupted Romney 28 times. 28 times. Her desperation to keep Romney from scoring points was so patently obvious that it wasn’t really a surprise when she had her infamous moment: the moment when she interrupted and falsely claimed Romney was incorrect in accusing Obama of refusing to call the Benghazi attack an act of terror.
There’s much more to Bigelow’s piece and I suggest you read the whole thing as he does a nice job of chronicling all of the help Crowley provided to Obama. The second bit of information I found illuminating is that Obama’s campaign surrogates at Politico did the math and determined that Obama was given 8% more time than Romney. That’s quite significant, especially in light of the fact that Crowley cut Romney off 28 times.
But despite this and the media’s attempt to spin last night’s debate as some kind of Obama victory, voters aren’t buying it. To be sure, Romney missed (or failed to swing at) several hanging curves, but last night’s debate was not “won” by Obama. I’ll close with two videos to make this point. The first is the Frank Luntz focus group that’s gone viral since last night. The second is a focus group put on by MSNBC (yes, MSNBC) in which the consensus was that the debate was close to a draw, and a few of their hand-picked participants were actually swayed by last night’s debate … toward Romney. I’m guessing these weren’t the responses the boys and girls in the studio at MSNBC expected after they worked so hard on their “Obama won the debate” BS.