President Obama and former Gov. Romney squared off last night and this morning their respective running mates continued to clash over what was perhaps the most heated moment of the debate - the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.
While Romney accused the president of taking 14 days to call it an act of terror, Obama told him to “get the transcript” of his Rose Garden statement the day after the attack that lead to the death of Amb. Chris Stevens. It was at that moment when moderator Candy Crowley jumped in to say “[Obama] did call it an act of terror.”
The Romney campaign said Crowley was wrong, and when I asked Vice President Biden about it he accused Romney of playing politics.
“Well, the response is it became so clear to the American people how governor Romney and the campaign continue to try to politicize…a tragedy and their strategy seems to be to try make it appear that the president didn’t care or didn’t know or was lying,” Biden told me. “The fact of the matter is the president was clear. We are going to get to the bottom of this, the whole world will know it.”
In his Sept. 12 Rose Garden statement Obama said “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.”
When I asked Rep. Paul Ryan if Crowley was wrong, he said she had already backtracked and said Obama’s remark “was a passing comment about acts of terror in general, it was not a claim that this was the result of a terrorist attack.”
“If that was the case, George, then why send [UN Ambassador] Susan Rice out four days later to say this was the result of a spontaneous mob reacting to a YouTube video? Why go on “The View”? Why go on these other shows and not say the same thing? Look, that does not even hold water,” Ryan said on “GMA.” “What is troubling about this is as we learn more about it these facts just don’t add up. That’s why we need to get to the bottom of this, so we can prevent something like this from happening again.”
We saw a different Obama take the stage last night. When I asked Biden about the president’s change from the debate two weeks ago, he said the president he knows showed up.
“The guy passionately committed to doing something about the plight of the middle class, he was there last night,” Biden told me.
“And I thought he did an incredible job of pointing out what he did, what we’re going to do and I thought it was incredible that Governor Romney had nothing but a sketchy response to everything. I mean whether it was that young college kid asking him about a job he kept saying ‘I want you to get a job, I want you to get a job’, or whether it was about – this is the third debate we’ve had on their tax policy. They’ve yet to come up with a single solitary specific,” he added.
But Biden wasn’t the only VP contender claiming victory. Ryan said not only did Romney win, but he offered a vision.
“Growing the economy through energy, through better job training programs for getting people back to work, cutting the deficit, capping spending, getting small business growing again, this is our specific five-point plan and we’ve already shown repeatedly that our economic policies, like our tax reform, are revenue neutral and they’re designed to simplify the tax code, to lower tax rates by closing loopholes primarily at the higher end so that we can get economic growth and job creation,” he told me.
“That’s what people saw. They saw a leader with a proven track record of bringing people together, getting things done, creating jobs and that is exactly why I think Mitt Romney again won this debate,” Ryan said.