Candy Crowley: I didn’t backtrack on Libya in debate

CNN's Candy Crowley denied Wednesday morning that she had moved away from her own comments on Libya when she moderated the previous night's debate.

During a back-and-forth on Libya Tuesday night, Mitt Romney argued that President Obama did not call the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" until 14 days after the assault. Crowley jumped in, saying, “It — he did in fact, sir.” She went on to tell Romney, "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."

On ABC's "Good Morning America," Republican vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan said that Crowley had already taken back the first part of that statement. "The moderator said that she -- that he was right in the main on this, that she wasn't correct in pointing out that he made reference to this being a specific terrorist attack," he said.  

What Crowley said on CNN after the debate: Romney "was right in the main, I just think he picked the wrong word." But on the same network Wednesday morning, she said she was in no way taking back her original interjection. 

“Listen, what I said on that stage is the same thing I said to you actually last night," she told Soledad O'Brian. "[W]e got hung up on this ‘yes he said,’ ‘no I didn’t,’ ‘I said terror,’ ‘you didn't say terror.’ ... So I said, [President Obama] did say ‘acts of terror, call it an act of terror, but Governor Romney, you are perfectly right that it took weeks for them to get past the tape.’”

Asked if that was a backtrack, Crowley said, “No. The question was -- we got so stuck on that 'act of terror.' Now, did the President say this was an act of terror? The president did not say -- he said 'these acts of terror,' but he was in the Rose Garden to talk about Benghazi, so I don’t think that’s a leap." (The exact phrase Obama used: "no acts of terror.")

Rachel Weiner covers local politics for The Washington Post.
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Rachel Weiner · October 17, 2012