There was outrage after debate moderator Candy Crowley sided with the President, telling Mitt Romney that he was wrong about remarks Obama had made on the Libyan Embassy attack.
During a question about security at the Benghazi consulate, where four American officials were killed on September 11, Obama said he was ultimately responsible as commander-in-chief.
Romney then questioned that Obama had called the consulate attack an ‘act of terror’ in his Rose Garden address the following day.
While Obama cut across Romney – saying ‘look at the transcript’ – Ms Crowley then backed up the President, telling the Republican governor that Obama did ‘call it an act of terror’.
During the debate tonight, Obama said: ‘The day after the attack, Governor, I stood in the Rose Garden, and I told the American people and the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened, that this was an act of terror.’
Romney then questioned the veracity of Obama’s remarks. He said: ‘I think it’s interesting the president just said something which is that on the day after the attack, he went in the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror. You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack it was an act of terror. It was not a spontaneous demonstration.’
While Romney then continued to question the attack, Ms Crowley interjected: ‘He [Obama] did in fact sir.’
Obama then said: ‘Can you say that a little louder, Candy?’ to laughter and applause from the audience.
Ms Crowley then told Romney: ‘He did call it an act of terror. It did as well take – it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.’
There was outrage that Ms Crowley had stepped in on behalf of the President.
During his Rose Garden address on September 12, the day following the attack in Benghazi, 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.’
Crowley launched the second presidential debate with vigor tonight although struggled to shut down both Obama and Romney when they ran over allocated times and attacked each other in angry exchanges.
In her opening statement at the town hall debate in New York, Ms Crowley said: ‘Because I am the optimistic sort, I’m sure the candidates will oblige by keeping their answers concise and on point’.
However Ms Crowley struggled to control the candidates as they spoke over each other amid angry exchanges.
Obama and Romney had both revealed their skepticism of moderator Candy Crowley ahead of tonight’s second presidential debate.
Lawyers for both Democratic and Republican campaigns complained about comments the CNN journalist made ahead of the town hall-style debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York tonight.
Ms Crowley refereed the two presidential candidates as they answered questions from online viewers and members of the audience.
In an interview, she indicated that she plans to take a more aggressive stance than the last moderator Jim Lehrer who was roundly criticized for a listless performance and letting Obama and Romney walk all over him.
Where PBS veteran Lehrer said he job was to stay out of the way, Crowley’s planning a different set of tactics.
The political correspondent told CNN earlier this month: ‘Once the table is kind of set by the town hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ”Hey, wait a second, what about x, y, z?”’
Both candidates appeared less than pleased with her remarks – and they weren’t the only ones.
The Commission on Presidential Debates has also complained, saying Crowley’s remarks are vastly different from the memo that was signed by lawyers for both campaigns.