By Tom Quiner
Mitt Romney had Barack Obama on the ropes.
He was moving in for the knock out punch on the president when the media rang the bell and saved the reeling prevaricator.
The scene was the pivotal second debate. The president claimed he called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” the day after our ambassador and three other Americans were murdered.
Mitt Romney called him on it. And then something amazing happened. Debate moderator Candy Crowley jumped to Barack Obama’s defense. She said Obama was right. She implied Romney was the liar. She said the transcript would prove it.
And then she cut off discussion on what now appears to be a Benghazi cover up by the administration and moved on.
The election pivoted on that moment.
Fifty million Americans were left with the impression that Mitt Romney was the equivocator, not Barack Obama. Although Ms. Crowley would later admit that Romney was right, that she was wrong, and that Obama played loose with the truth, few heard her admission.
Mitt Romney knew at that point that Benghazi was off the table, that there was no upside to pursuing it, because the media had Obama’s back.
Had the story been reported like the story should have been reported, Obama would have lost the election.
The scandal has not gone away. Now we’re going to have to deal with it in the coming year, to the detriment of the country. It would have been much healthier to report the facts before the election rather than after.
Candy Crowley’s decision to provide cover for Barack Obama in the heat of the debate may have salvaged the president’s campaign.