There was much anticipation among media watchers as to how CNN’s Candy Crowley would handle her role as moderator at Tuesday night’s town-hall style presidential debate, especially given the leaked “memorandum of understanding” between the Obama and Romney campaigns that specified Crowley should have a limited role in the debate.
Bur Crowley made her presence felt, often trying to rein the candidates in when they talked over each other (and her) in an effort to get the last word. But her turn as moderator my be most remembered by her fact-checking Mitt Romney in real time during his answer to a question on the U.S. embassy attack in Libya.
In that answer, Romney said it took President Obama 14 days to declare the attack in Benghazi an act of terror. Crowley interjected and corrected him, saying, “He did in fact sir. He did call it an act of terror.”
Obama replied, “Can you say that a little louder Candy?”
The reaction to Crowley’s fact-checking Romney was predictably divided down party lines. On Fox & Friends Wednesday morning, host Steve Doocy said Crowley had “bailed out” Obama. “One problem, her facts weren’t exactly right,” he said. “She supposed to be a moderator and not the ref.”
On MSNBC, Chris Matthews said, “I think it was very well moderated by Crowley and CNN. [Romney] tried to push Candy Crowley, she wouldn’t be pushed. Boy does she deserve credit here for memory, and confidence in her memory.”
Crowley herself went on CNN’s Starting Point Wednesday morning to respond to critics who said she overstepped her role as moderator, saying she did it to move the conversation along.
The 2012 campaign’s final presidential debate is Monday, Oct. 22, to be moderated by CBS News’ Bob Schieffer.