For good or ill, Candy Crowley injected herself into the storyline last night when she interrupted to fact check Mitt Romney (and come to the aid of President Obama.)
Some will surely applaud her for her aggressiveness, but if the job of a moderator is to avoid becoming part of the story, she failed.
Crowley, of course, insisted that President Obama did, in fact, use the term “act of terror” during his Rose Garden speech about Benghazi.
The larger point was debatable. As Washington Post fact checker Glenn Kessler noted, Obama did say, ”No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this nation.” But, as Kessler also added, Obama “did not say ‘terrorism’—and it took the administration days to concede that that it an ‘act of terrorism’ that appears unrelated to initial reports of anger at a video that defamed the prophet Muhammad.”
Predictably, Crowley’s comments have drawn controversy and criticism. Mickey Kaus says she was out of line. Romney ally, former Gov. John Sununu, called it “terrible,” adding: ““I think she had no business trying to be a fact-checker on the stage, because she was dead wrong.”
Of course, Crowley is now saying that Romney was right “in the main.”
And so I must ask: If Crowley, as she now implies, thought Romney was correct in the spirit of the law — but wrong in the letter of the law — why was she so aggressive in making her point, and thus, making herself a very big part of the story?