Benghazi-Gate, After the Debate

NEW YORK – My quick debate wrap focused on the Libya exchange, which infuriated Republicans. They wanted the president brought low on that issue, and in their minds, Candy Crowley’s moderating – spurred by Obama’s cool refusal to answer Romney’s follow-up question – denied Romney a win. And it did hurt Romney when Crowley took the president’s side in the way-too-prominent semantic discussion of whether the president meant “acts of terror” as in “this terrorism that just happened” or “acts of terror” as in “terrorism, generally.” But wasn’t Romney hurt just as much when Obama “took responsibility” for the debacle? Go back to Romney’s slow response.

Thank you, Kerry, for your question. It’s an important one. And — and I — I think the president just said correctly that — that the buck does stop at his desk, and — and he takes responsibility for — for that — for that — the failure in providing those security resources, and those terrible things may well happen from time to time.

I — I’m — I feel very deeply sympathetic for the families of those who lost loved ones. Today there’s a memorial service for one of those that was lost in this tragedy. We — we think of their families and care for them deeply.

There were other issues associated with this — with this tragedy.

Right before the debate I’d talked to Rep. Peter King, who predicted this line from Obama: “Mistakes were made, but we were doing the best we could do at the time. There’s always confusion, but I’m going to do what I can to get the perpetrators of this act the way we got bin Laden.” Basically right, wasn’t it?

Fred Kaplan has much more on the missing foreign policy debate, though that issue will stop being obscure on Monday, in Florida.