To the Commission on Presidential Debates:
Millions of Americans tuned in to the second presidential debate this week, expecting it to live up to your mandate:
The Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) was established in 1987 to ensure that debates, as a permanent part of every general election, provide the best possible information to viewers and listeners.
Instead, we were shocked to hear moderator Candy Crowley authoritatively "correct" Governor Romney mid-sentence when he asserted that President Obama had taken TWO WEEKS to call the murder of our ambassador to Libya, along with three other Americans, terrorism.
Yet the next day, Ms. Crowley admitted publicly that Romney was “right in the main” since the Obama administration had spent weeks refusing to say that the attack was terrorism, but she thought at the time that “he picked the wrong word.”
Of course, by then, the damage was done. Not only was the debate contaminated, so was the integrity of the Commission of Presidential Debates.
And worse, so was the decision-making independence of the American people.
Here are the facts:
• On September 19 - after asserting for eight days that calling the Libya murders terrorism was premature - White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told the press, “It is, I think, self-evident that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
• Three hours later, President Obama was televised saying, “I don’t want to speak to something until we have all the information. What we do know is that the natural protests [sic, and sick] that arose because of the outrage over the video were used as an excuse by extremists to see if they can also harm US interests.”
• On September 21, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was televised saying, “What happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack.”
• On September 24, on ABC’s “The View,” Joy Behar asked Mr. Obama, “I heard Hillary Clinton say that it was an act of terrorism. What do you say?” The President replied, “Well, we’re still doing an investigation. There’s no doubt that the kind of weapons that were used, the ongoing assault, that it wasn’t just a mob action.”
We believe that this tragedy, this travesty, can be averted, at least partially.
Just before the third presidential debate begins, the moderator should state matter-of-factly that the second debate's moderator, Candy Crowley, corrected Governor Romney when he asserted that President Obama had taken two weeks to call the murder of our ambassador to Libya, along with three other Americans, terrorism. Yet the next day, Ms. Crowley admitted on CNN that Romney’s was right in that the Obama administration spent weeks refusing to say that the attack was terrorism, but she thought at the time that “he picked the wrong word.”
In the interest of fairness, in the interest of truth, we implore you to do this.