Obama was helped in setting up one of his best put-down speeches of the second debate, thanks to moderator Candy Crowley's chiming in when Obama refused to speak. This portion of a Washington Times Communities blog post by Henry D'Andrea makes the point I hope anyone can agree to, at least silently (liberals and Obamasexuals, maybe not):
"...an audience member asked the president, "We were sitting around talking about Libya, and we were reading and became aware of reports that the State Department refused extra security for our embassy in Benghazi, Libya, prior to the attacks that killed four Americans. Who was it that denied enhanced security and why?"
Obama gave a lengthy response which never addressed the question. During his rebuttal Romney said, “I think it’s interesting, the president just said something which is that the day after the attack, he went into the Rose Garden and said that this is was an act of terror?
"It was not a spontaneous demonstration; is that what you’re saying?”
“Please proceed, governor,” Obama replied.
Romney looked at him with consternation as the president didn’t say whether he called the Libya attack an act of terrorism on September 12. "
As we all have heard, moderator Candy Crowley stepped in and muddled things since Romney was trying to outline the facts and Obama refused to chime in as Romney was seeking confirmation. For me this action by the seasoned (thus someone who ought to have known better) CNN host was the most disappointing part of the debate, not considering omissions and a few obvious attempts to demonize Romney. The candidates had their low moments, but this involvement ruined the debate. People will, however, simply make of it what they wish, facts and order of events need not affect them. If they are of a certain stubborn mind to begin with. Importantly, you could extend Crowley's offense to Obama as well: He could have easily confirmed the order of things -- or just stuck with the spin, rather than voting present on it at that stage in the debate -- when given the chance by Romney. When Obama said, "Please proceed, Governor," I think it's clear that Obama was counting on a lead-in, from Romney, to what proved to be a prepared, over-the-top campaign cheap shot minutes later. Here's how: I believe Obama was hoping Romney was going to take more of a cheap shot at him on the Benghazi affair, or at least talk about it in a way that didn't include requesting a clarification from Obama. The President didn't get the lead-in he might have preferred, since Romney sought clarification from Obama of some of the what-where-when of the Benghazi attack. We heard a request for agreement by Romney, and Obama's "Please proceed, Governor." Yes, please proceed, without my confirming anything, because I have a great diatribe prepared once you're finished setting me up for it. Obama was interested in giving one of his prepared gotcha attacks, to take some heat off of himself. Since Obama is well informed about speaking -- much more informed than he is about economics, military matters, security, and the varied threats from Muslim extremists -- he fashioned the debate himself to get to his prepared outrage. It happened to be in part thanks to Crowley's feckless assistance. Obama gave what I believe was a well-prepared rant about his being insulted by any suggestion that he or his Administration was lackadaisical about the deaths of Ambassador Stevens and three former military men. He used it, it just wasn't as perfectly set-up as it could have been, because Romney wasn't taking a cheap shot. There must have been some slight disappointment about Romney's taking a higher road in the Obama camp. Watch the Benghazi attack portion from the second debate again, and consider Obama's chess game, holding the complete facts like cherished pieces and moving forward all of his self-protecting rhetorical pieces -- his pawns. Ironically, I should add, because he tried to refute any idea that he was making political hay of Benghazi, when it seems, no matter how he feels about it, that he has been doing exactly that, and in the debate did it once again. I think it's a clear effort to make a political game of the Benghazi event, using games to put his own failings on the back burner by trying to suggest his opponent is making it political, not he. This intentional, political gaming by Obama with the facts of Benghazi -- and his embarrassing handling of it -- is similar to a child claiming his little sister was at fault for his being grounded for a broken cookie jar because she pointed out to the parents that he had broken the jar. It's childish head games. Obama had no humility regarding the Benghazi attack and his errors in handling that event while his fundraising trips were not taking a break. Obama was not interested in admitting the facts of his unseemly preference to campaigning over being the president. He went to a fundraiser in Las Vegas and onto TV shows in the attack's immediate aftermath. Fact is, Obama was not admitting to a direct challenge to the United States, treating it as an upswelling of a popular demonstration. For many days. He didn't want the Arab Spring to turn so cold. But it did. He's doing clean-up now, attempting to throw his shame on his political foe. How could the president ever be convinced that a shoulder-fired missile might have been part of a popular demonstration? Is there such a thing as a sudden, unplanned militant action? I don't think so. Obama is trying to make political hay of the Benghazi deaths. Romney has pointed out what was done wrong, if he is doing anything with this event. Mostly detached, guilt-ridden and fanatical masses are taking Obama's bait to attack Romney unreasonably for Benghazi, when they should be wondering why Obama kept avoiding the use of the word "terror" connected directly to the Benghazi attack. Obama cares about our embassies and the Americans serving in them, I'd imagine, but he seems to be equally interested in using the event to his political advantage. I wonder if the folks at that Las Vegas fund-raising event that followed the Benghazi attack felt like Obama cared about them? Or, at least, that he cared about their money? I think they should have felt honored by his desire for campaign cash.