As Townhall readers know by now, debate moderator Candy Crowley incorrectly said during the presidential debate last night in New York that President Obama referred to the attack in Benghazi on 9/11 as a terrorist attack immediately after the attack occurred. President Obama agreed with Crowley's comments, asked her to "say them a little louder," and said he did say the attack was a terrorist attack from the Rose Garden on 9/12. After the debate, Crowley walked back her statement last night on and said Mitt Romney was "right in the main." Crowley and Obama were wrong, Mitt Romney was right and President Obama failed to classify the attack as a terrorist attack until two weeks after it happened.
So, let's review a timeline courtesy of the Heritage Foundation.
And from the Washington Post:
What did Obama say in the Rose Garden a day after the attack in Libya? ”No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation,” he said.
But he did not say “terrorism”—and it took the administration days to concede that that it an “act of terrorism” that appears unrelated to initial reports of anger at a video that defamed the prophet Muhammad.
“Yesterday, our U.S. diplomatic post in Benghazi, Libya, was attacked. Heavily armed militants assaulted the compound and set fire to our buildings. American and Libyan security personnel battled the attackers together. Four Americans were killed. They included Sean Smith, a Foreign Service information management officer, and our Ambassador to Libya Chris Stevens. We are still making next of kin notifications for the other two individuals.”
— Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, State Department Treaty room, Sept. 12
“The United States condemns in the strongest terms this outrageous and shocking attack. We're working with the government of Libya to secure our diplomats. I've also directed my administration to increase our security at diplomatic posts around the world. And make no mistake, we will work with the Libyan government to bring to justice the killers who attacked our people.
“Since our founding, the United States has been a nation that respects all faiths. We reject all efforts to denigrate the religious beliefs of others. But there is absolutely no justification to this type of senseless violence. None. The world must stand together to unequivocally reject these brutal acts…No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.”
— President Obama, Rose Garden statement, Sept. 12
(Note: we added this statement to the timeline after Josh Gerstein of Politico asserted that the phrasing “acts of terror” showed Obama acknowledged “terrorism” was behind the attack. From our many years of covering diplomacy we would say there is a world of difference, but readers can draw their own conclusions.)
“Frankly, we are not in a position to speak any further to the perpetrators of this attack. It was clearly a complex attack. We’re going to have to do a full investigation.”
— Unnamed senior administration official, briefing reporters in a conference call, Sept. 12
“I think it’s important to note with regards to that protest that there are protests taking place in different countries across the world that are responding to the movie that has circulated on the Internet. As Secretary Clinton said today, the United States government had nothing to do with this movie. We reject its message and its contents. We find it disgusting and reprehensible. America has a history of religious tolerance and respect for religious beliefs that goes back to our nation’s founding. We are stronger because we are the home to people of all religions, including millions of Muslims, and we reject the denigration of religion. We also believe that there is no justification at all for responding to this movie with violence.”
— White House spokesman Jay Carney, news briefing, Sept. 13
“This has been a difficult week for the State Department and for our country. We’ve seen the heavy assault on our post in Benghazi that took the lives of those brave men. We’ve seen rage and violence directed at American embassies over n awful Internet video that we had nothing to do with. It is hard for the American people to make sense of that because it is senseless, and it is totally unacceptable.”
— Clinton, transfer of remains ceremony, Sept. 14
“I have seen that report, and the story is absolutely wrong. We were not aware of any actionable intelligence indicating that an attack on the U.S. mission in Benghazi was planned or imminent. That report is false.”
— Carney, news briefing, Sept. 14
“Based on the best information we have to date ... it began spontaneously in Benghazi as a reaction to what had transpired some hours earlier in Cairo, where, of course, as you know, there was a violent protest outside of our embassy sparked by this hateful video. But soon after that spontaneous protest began outside of our consulate in Benghazi, we believe that it looks like extremist elements, individuals, joined in that effort with heavy weapons of the sort that are, unfortunately, readily now available in Libya post-revolution. And that it spun from there into something much, much more violent.... We do not have information at present that leads us to conclude that this was premeditated or preplanned.”
— Susan E. Rice, U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, on CBS’s “Face the Nation,” Sept. 16
“We had a substantial security presence with our personnel and the consulate in Benghazi. Tragically, two of the four Americans who were killed were there providing security. That was their function. And indeed, there were many other colleagues who were doing the same with them.”
— Rice, on ABC’s “This Week,” Sept. 16
(Note: the U.S. post was not a consulate and its precise role is still a mystery.)
“The way these perpetrators acted and moved, and their choosing the specific date for this so-called demonstration, this leaves us with no doubt that this was preplanned, predetermined.”
You get the point and can read the entire WAPO timeline here.
When the bodies of the Americans killed in the terrorist attack in Benghazi on 9/11 were brought home to the United States, President Obama stood in front of them with Hillary Clinton and blamed their murders on a YouTube video, not on terrorists.