Here's what almost certainly happened: After the interview, Axelrod, or someone else from the campaign, called Crowley's attention to the White House transcript. She read the relevant portion and conceded that Axelrod was right: Obama had called the attack an act of terror. As we wrote yesterday, such an interpretation was reasonable, although it was a matter of opinion because the president's statement was ambiguous. Obama was briefed on all this during his debate preparation. If this surmise is correct, then Crowley knew about the "acts of terror" Easter egg hidden in Obama's Sept. 12 speech, and Obama knew she knew. Romney did not know and was as incredulous as Crowley had been, because the administration had spent weeks peddling the claim that the video dunnit. Obama brought the matter up expecting incredulity from Romney and backup from Crowley. She therefore unwittingly played her role in Obama's little ambush of his opponent. She was just clarifying the facts--or so Axelrod & Co. had led her to believe.Can we really conclude that Obama really follow the Sunday talk shows when we know he doesn't follow his own security briefings? Much more likely, he knew that the speech used the phrase "no act of terror" in an equivocal fashion because (a) it was included to give him cover and (b) he gave the speech. Obama's real problem is that he also knew that while he may have happened to use the phrase "no act of terror", he also knows that he wasn't calling Libya an "act of terror" in that (a) he blamed a "film" in the speech and (b) he and his administration kept referring to the murder as the result of a spontaneous demonstration caused by an "offensive" "movie." It's what he said, not what did not say, that's the problem for Obama.
Friday, October 19, 2012
"Was Candy in Cahoots." James Taranto examines the question of whether the claim that Obama called the Libyan murders "an act of terror" was a "set up" with the debate moderator. Read the whole thing, but here is his considered and prudent judgment: