On Friday, Hugh Hewitt asked CNN anchor Candy Crowley about her infamous fact-check heard 'round the world during the "town hall style" presidential debate at Hofstra University. Her general self-assessment? The journalistic equivalent of a solid B-plus:
HH: I have to begin by asking you about the debate, obviously, since it’s the first time I’ve talked to you since then. Looking back at not just your role but the media generally, are you happy with how it turned out? Is it pride, misgivings or both?
CC: Do you mean about the debate itself?
CC: Oh, no. I thought in the series of debates that you saw, whether it was Jim Lehrer or Bob Schieffer, Martha Raddatz or myself, that what you saw was a reflection of the styles of the four people, and you got a really good idea as to who these candidates were. So I’m good with it. I do think that the compilation and the, you know, what the Commission wanted to do was kind of have one debate build on another. I think they accomplished that, and I think more than that, because it’s not about the Debate Commission, it’s about the voters. I think they got a good view of these men under varying circumstances.
HH: Now there was some pretty ferocious criticism directed at you, Candy. Here’s Joe Scarborough on MSNBC.
HH: Then AEI’s Stan Veuger called it “an outrageous intervention” in which you “shamelessly provided cover for the President’s lies”, and then following, Charles Krauthammer on Fox said this.
HH: Now what do you think about this, Candy? I’ve been defending you for years as one of the best in the business. But you get all of these conservative critics of how the debate went. How do you react to it?
CC: You know, I, look, in the sense that this is a free country, there’s certainly, anybody is willing, anybody certainly has the ability to criticize, the freedom to criticize. I think if you go back and look at that Rose Garden statement, remember we were talking about one specific thing – what happened in the Rose Garden. I stand by it. Do I understand that conservatives thought this was a missed opportunity? I’ll tell you, the only thing I objected to all along was the idea that there was a motivating force to somehow support the President or somehow undermine Mitt Romney. And I can, it is one thing that actually I don’t like about politics anymore is that everyone’s always looking at everybody else’s motivation and can’t possibly know. So I think the motivation stuff bothers me, but certainly, you know, criticism is part of the game.
HH: Now Candy, would you have interjected the same way if you had seen that 60 Minutes excerpt before the debate?
CC: Had I seen it before the debate, you know what, Hugh, no. But let’s again remember that this was about what he said in the Rose Garden. And what he said in the Rose Garden, this was the day after the September 11th attack. He was referring to the attack, and he was talking about the attack in Benghazi. That’s why he was in the Rose Garden. He went on to talk about 9/11, and then he said these acts of terror, blah, blah, blah, and today we mourn, he mentions those folks that were murdered in Libya. So we were talking about that specific moment in that specific Rose Garden.
A laudable mome
Guy Benson is Townhall.com's Political Editor. Follow him on Twitter @guypbenson. He is co-authors with Mary Katharine Ham for their new book End of Discussion: How the Left's Outrage Industry Shuts Down Debate, Manipulates Voters, and Makes America Less Free (and Fun).
Author Photo credit: Jensen Sutta Photography
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