Debate panel leader: Picking Crowley for Obama-Romney match a 'mistake'

Focus group weighs in


A co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates said Tuesday that it was a "mistake" to pick CNN's Candy Crowley to moderate the second debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney -- where Crowley appeared to side with the president on a key question regarding the Libya terror attack. 

The comments came from Frank Fahrenkopf, a former Republican Party chairman who was speaking to local conservatives in Las Vegas Tuesday. 

As reported by longtime Nevada political reporter Jon Ralston, Fahrenkopf voiced regret about one decision he helped make as co-chairman of the debate commission. 

"We made one mistake this time: Her name is Candy," he said. 

The comment was a reference to Crowley's controversial performance in October. In the final half-hour of the debate, Crowley interjected after Romney questioned whether Obama had called the Benghazi attack an "act of terror" rather than "spontaneous" violence that grew out of a protest against an anti-Islam video. 

"He did in fact, sir ... call it an act of terror," Crowley told Romney. 

Obama, evidently pleased with the moderator's comment, asked: "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?" 

Amid criticism from conservatives, Crowley later conceded on CNN that Romney was "right in the main" but "picked the wrong word." 

Obama didn't explicitly label the Benghazi strike terrorism in his Sept. 12 remarks. What he did say is: "No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation." 

Crowley, during and following the debate, pointed out that despite Obama's Sept. 12 remarks his administration was peddling a different story to the public. She said it took two weeks for officials to say more definitively that the attack was more than an out-of-control protest.