Fox News anchor Greta Van Susteren, speaking on “This Week,” called moderator Candy Crowley’s handling of one of the most heated moments of the second presidential debate “clumsy,” saying the CNN anchor helped Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney by putting the spotlight on the Benghazi attack.
“Candy Crowley … is an old friend of mine. I used to work at CNN. But I actually think she helped Gov. Romney,” Van Susteren said on the “This Week” roundtable. “The most important issue for Gov. Romney’s campaign is to put the spotlight on Libya and how the president’s administration has been very clumsy, at best – not giving us the information, meaning the American people, what happened.”
“So what happened is because Candy Crowley was clumsy in how she handled it – the entire discussion, and even right now, is about Libya, where we probably would have reserved it for the debate tomorrow night,” Van Susteren added, referring to Monday night’s final debate on foreign policy. “But Candy, in an unusual, bizarre way, put the total spotlight – it’s all the media talked about.”
In last week’s presidential debate, Gov. Romney challenged President Obama on when he first said that the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi was a terrorist act, with Romney saying, “I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.”
President Obama responded, “Get the transcript,” prompting Crowley to interject “It – he did in fact, sir… he did call it an act of terror… 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.”
While President Obama did say in a Rose Garden press conference the day after the Benghazi attack that “no acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation,” the Obama administration has been criticized for continuing to say in the weeks after the attack that it was spontaneously spurred by a protest against an anti-Islamic video on YouTube.
While Van Susteren argued on this morning’s roundtable that the heated exchange on Benghazi at last week’s debate helped Gov. Romney, ABC News political analyst Matthew Dowd said it was Romney’s “worst moment of the debate,” while praising Crowley for fact-checking the candidates.
“I think that Benghazi discussion, and Libya discussion, was the President’s best moment of that debate, and I think Mitt Romney’s worst moment in that debate,” Dowd said on “This Week.” “What Candy Crowley did, I actually thought was laudable, because what happens in this whole thing is the truth becomes a casualty, and nobody’s supposed to say what actually happened. We’re just supposed to make accusations back and forth to each other, and nobody’s supposed to correct and say, ‘By the way, that’s not true.’”
“Mitt Romney does not want to be talking about Libya. Mitt Romney wants to be talking about the economy,” Dowd added. “And if you take a look at all the polls on Libya and foreign policy, and going into this debate, the president has an advantage on that. A bigger advantage than now on the economy.”