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October 17, 2012 11:16 am

Mitt Romney Must Confront Voters with the Alarming Reality of American Appeasement

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David Axelrod is interviewed by CNN's Candy Crowley.

In comparison to the previous debate, President Obama gets points – mostly for showing up. Nevertheless, even the first polls show that he didn’t manage to knock out Mitt Romney – despite all the advantages of scripted questions, a friendly audience and, of course, the moderator. Oh, the moderator.

Candy Crowley’s crass intervention into the debate on Obama’s side broke Romney’s momentum and set an audience against him, since she practically accused him of lying. To recap: Obama claimed that, from the first moment, he recognized the murder of American diplomats in Benghazi as a terrorist attack and called it as such. Romney accused the President of stalling for several days before admitting that the attack in Libya had nothing to do with the infamous video about Muhammad, and that he didn’t refer to the murders as an act of terror.

This brought Crowley to intervene. “In fact”, – she intoned, channeling an enraged schoolmarm, – “he [Obama] did call it [the Benghazi attack] an act of terror”. Applause.

Why was Crowley so sure? Because, you see, that’s what Obama campaign staffer David Axelrod told her on her show on September 30th. As Commentary’s Alana Goodman writes on Sept 30th:

“Well, first of all, Candy, as you know, the President called it an act of terror the day after it happened,” David Axelrod told CNN’s Candy Crowley this morning, referring to a speech Obama made in the Rose Garden on Sept. 12.

In the actual speech at the Rose Garden, Obama didn’t use the word “terror” until close to the end, when he mentioned the 9/11 attacks. If the President believed that America was again a victim of terrorism –  he would have mentioned this in a first sentence of his address.

But the plain admission of this fact – that American diplomats were murdered by Islamist terrorists – disturbed the narrative the Obama administration was pushing up to this point. “We left Iraq, we got bin Laden, the Middle East is democratizing itself, and Al Qaeda is defeated” – this was the party line before the newly-liberated Arab masses went on an anti-American rampage. To admit that the “new Libya” became a terrorist haven was just too much.

And so, before and after Obama’s address, the administration refused to call the slaughter in Benghazi an act of terror. Faced with outrage after the end of the debate, Crowley herself admitted that Romney was correct “on substance”, unwittingly underscoring her mistake. Even if she was truly certain that Romney got this semantic detail wrong, she should have let Obama object (which he did) and restrain herself from disturbing the flow of the debate and guiding the audience.

Despite all expectations and the significantly Jewish makeup of the audience, Israel or Iran did not come up in the debate questions. This leaves Governor Romney with a clear mission for the last debate – he must expose Obama’s handling of world affairs for what it is. Going beyond presidential misstatements, he must confront the viewers with the alarming reality of American appeasement of Russia in Europe and radical Islamists in the Middle East, the inadequacy of sanctions against Iran and the breakdown of trust with Israel. Pundit wisdom notwithstanding, polls show that Americans want to hear about foreign policy, even if the bunch of hand-picked Long Islanders didn’t. Romney must not disappoint them.

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  • “People gathered outside the embassy and then it grew very violent and those with extremist ties joined the fray and came with heavy weapons.”

    As Charles Krauthammer points out ” there was no gathering. There were no people. There was no fray. It was totally quiet outside the facility until terrorists stormed the compound and killed our ambassador and three others.”

    It is indeed incredible that Romney, the audience and most of the commentators did not react. How come? Probably when someone so blatantly lies one is taken off guard and by the time you make sure your version is the truth, it is too late.

    But now extrapolate Obama’s policy on Libya to his appeasement of Iran. The media is asleep here as well , only that the consequences for the US are orders of magnitude worse:

    How many Washington Post readers have read Matthias Kuntzel and Bernard Lewis on Iran? How many Aglemeiner readers have?

    Antisemitism, Messianism and the Cult of Sacrifice: The Iranian Holy War

    Why are Bernard Lewis’s views on MAD ignored?

  • Jerry Hersch

    How easy a target. Two years ago while vacationing outside the US we rented a house in a capital city we rented a house..It was in a safe area well patrolled by police and yet obviously vulnerable to those who would seek to do harm.
    The house we rented was ,and would eventually be again, the Russian consulate. It was a safe friendly city but in looking at the area as a whole not impossible for a mob to block off area access and wreck havoc.
    So much more the danger in a city in flux,with armed mobs and militias..certainly not the place for a Diplomatic mission-if indeed diplomacy was the purpose of this outpost.
    Obviously there was known danger-most embassies and almost no Consular offices have a ‘safe house’ security perimeter.There are only a half dozen consulate level facilities on the African continent -most have to do with economic concerns (South Africa),tourism and commerce(Alexandria,Rabat)..none have a quasi-something purpose in a near war turmoil zone…I cannot think of a single consulate whose purpose is not commerce or tourist related.
    One purpose of setting up a consulate where it is not warrented by commerce or tourism – is to plant a ‘separate’ flag as a presence.
    Libya since Classical days has had a Janus look.Tripolitania and Cyrenaica(the Benghazi area).What was the purpose of this consular outpost ???

    A great online book about the Jews of Libya:

  • Patti

    The problem is that the president has made no statements to the Benghazi debacle at all. He goes on silly American talk shows and promoted the mob violence over a video was to blame. Not terrorism. To admit otherwise would undermine the administration’s narrative of having Al Quaeda on its heels. It points to Obama’s lack of engagement in foreign policy issues day to day. Attends only 40% of the daily national security briefings. He can’t afford to take heat for failing to protect Americsns abroad in our embassies. He is a politically motivated man and could care less about these 4 dead men. 36 hours after the murders, BO goes to Vegas to raise money and play. The bum needs to go.

    • Herschel

      You may not like President Obama, you may disagree with him, but to call the President of the United States, any US President is rude and disrespectful. He is far from a bum. Manners, my dear lady, manners and respect.

  • Ellke

    I watched the debate with great interest and wonder what debate your columnist was watching. I thought, as did the results of many polls today, that Pres Obama won the debate handily. Mitt Romney doesnt like to be challenged, he doesn’t like to be wrong, and he doesn’t like to lose….neither does your columnist who is wrong. Last night presented a wonderful opportunity for the country to see who is solid and presidential and who is not.
    Whatever happens in the election, only one of those men is truly presidential.


      Obviously , those who do not like Romney attacked him based on heavily financed Obama campaign ads.

      Just ask any military or intelligence professional in 7/10 will tell you that they are supporting Romney.

  • Herschel

    Romney is an empty box. Keep supporting him if you want wars all over the world, a dismal economy, and Romney baptizing dead Holocaust victims. He’s not interested in Israel or the Jews, but in preserving Israel because he believes Christ is coming back to the Holyland. If Obama were white, would you feel better about him?

    • Shmuel Mendelsohn

      So it’s always necessary to play the race card rather than relying solely on facts? You did mention so-called facts, which is why I used the word solely. It’s great to be an African-American president-candidate. Whomever disagrees with him must be racist!

      • Herschel

        Oh my, Shmuel, you just don’t get it. You must be part of the 1%!

  • MarkNYC

    I’m not much of a supporter of most aspects of U.S. foreign policy under Obama, but I find the preceding comments somewhat hysterical (and I don’t mean the funny kind).

  • Martin Stempel

    No thanks for your completely biased “commentary.” Would yo rather have Romney “kick the can down the road” – perhaps where it would land among the 47%-ers some of whom could be recruited to fight another Republican started war. Salesman Romney who did so well on his european trip is out of his league in foreign policy affairs – but this complements his ignorance of how the 99% live in this country.

    • Obama did real well pushing Mubarak out and in order to replace him with the Nazi loving Jew killing Muslim Brotherhood…How’s that Cairo speech working out?

      • I certainly have no love for the Muslim Brotherhood but you are naive if you think dictators like Murabak can survive any more in the Arab countries. They are artifacts of the colonial period. Are you suggesting we should have sent troops to sopport Murabak? What has that gotten us in Iraq? I’ll tell you – the longest war in American history, thousands of dead and maimed American service people, a war debt that helped exaccerbate the recession, and the enmity of most Arabs. Pull your head out of the sand of the Arab desert.

        • Mubarak was no angel…but he kept the peace for 30 years….the primary goal of the Muslim Brotherhood is the slaughter of the six million Jews in Israel as well as all the Jews in the rest of the world…Obama supported the Muslim Brotherhood because ..oh..I’m sure you can figure it out

  • Obama’s mentor is Frank Marshall Davis…a card carrying Communist…At Occidental College Obama along with John Drew and others was a Marxist/Lenninist…He moved to Chicago and gained the support of terrorists Bill Ayers and Bernadette wells as Islamist Rashid Khalidi…why is anyone shocked that Obama is the reincarnation of Neville Chaimberlain?

    • Apparently you want to go to war. Join up.

      • I want a President who supports Israel like Harry Truman did…Oh that’s right Frank Marshall Davis hated Harry Truman…and Obama has made it clear that Frank Marshall Davis is his mentor…wonder why Obama has said he wants to put a lot of daylight between the US and Israel…..????