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October 19th 2012 print

Steve Kates

A trap baited with Candy?

It could be nothing more sinister than coincidence, but how come CNN moderator Candy Crowley was so quick,  eager and seemingly well prepared to support Obama's version when Romney raised the Benghazi  massacre at the second presidential debate?

Was Romney set up? It certainly looks like it. First we run the tape. And note this when you watch. When Obama says, “get the transcript” Crowley the moderator actually does seem to get the transcript because she pulls a bundle of papers out which she is holding just as she declares that “he did indeed call it an act of terror” (1:30 in the video below).

Now some corroboration. First let us turn to Sally Zelikovsky at The American  Thinker:

But before the pundits continue to beat up on Romney for lost opportunities and a flubbed answer, Romney pounded Obama on his Rose Garden claims. With deadly seriousness he looked at Obama and said ‘I think it’s interesting the President just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.’

Obama interjected: ‘That’s what I said.’ Bam!

Romney continued: ‘You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror; it was not a spontaneous demonstration. Is that what you are saying?’

Obama haughtily invited Romney: ‘Please proceed Governor.’ Bam!

Romney responded: ‘I wanna make sure we get that for the record because it took him 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.’ Bam!

At which point Obama called for Candy to ‘Get the transcript’ and she came to his rescue ruling that Obama did say it was an act of terror–applause–and that Romney was also correct that it took 14 days for clarification–applause.

Romney, with a bit of stuttering, says: ‘The administration indicated that this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction….It took them a long time to say this was a terrorist act by a terrorist group….On Sunday…the Ambassador to the United Nations went on the Sunday television shows and spoke about how “this was a spontaneous reaction.”’ Bam! Bam!

Obama–desperately wanting to change the subject–announced ‘I’m happy to have a longer conversation about foreign policy….’ as Candy tells them that she wants to move on. And the President concedes ‘Ok, I’m happy to do that, too…. I just wanna make sure all these wonderful folks are gonna have a chance to get some of their questions answered.’ "

We all know she took Obama off the hook but the question needs to be asked, did she and Obama plan this in advance? So let’s continue with a similar post from blogger Neo-Neocon, who has gone through everything said by Obama in that Rose Garden address and adds this: 

Speaking of options—watch the tape of the moment in the debate when Obama makes the claim. The words I’m talking about occur right at the beginning where Obama says, ‘The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we were going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror, and I also said that we were going to hunt down those who committed this crime.’  

To me it appears that Obama feels that he is putting down some extremely tempting bait for Romney, hoping his opponent will bite. He has rehearsed this approach in preparation for a Libya/Benghazi question; he believes it to be his trump card, and he knows Crowley will cover for him—or, if she fails to do so, that the MSM will do it for her.

It’s also possible that Obama (or his surrogates) have worked this out ahead of time with Crowley. It’s certainly possible, because her waving those papers around when asked to look at the transcript of the speech (are they actually a transcript? Or something else?) is rather odd. Whichever it is, pre-arranged or no, Obama seems especially delighted at what Crowley says, asking her to repeat it and setting up a nice round of forbidden applause (led by Michelle–pre-planned as well?) from the audience. Gotcha!

Note also Obama’s affect when Romney questions him as to whether he really means to assert that he called it an act of terror the day after the attack. The camera zooms in on Obama as the president says to Romney ‘Please proceed, Governor,’ and then cuts away just after the fleeting ghost of a faint smile crosses Obama’s face (mostly in his eyes; it occurs at about 1:22). It is at that point Obama summarily orders Crowley to ‘check the transcript’ (no ‘please’ for Obama), and she immediately answers that Obama did say it that way. Not only do we know that assertion is false, but she didn’t even seem to have time to check any transcript between Obama’s request and her answer. 

Check the transcript, and there it is? Was this worked out together? Given the nature of the media in the US and how unnatural it appeared while watching, and how improbable it would be that Crowley would be so confident of her memory of what was said in the Rose Garden weeks before, that is what it seems to me.

If so, the corruption on both sides is very, very deep.

UPDATE: John Yoo at National Review also has his suspicions

Steve Kates teaches economics at RMIT University. His most recent book is Free Market Economics: an Introduction for the General Reader