Fact Check: Obama Did Not Call Benghazi an “Act of Terror”

In the wake of the U.S. Catholic Bishops having come out with a statement saying that Vice President Biden lied about Obamacare violating Catholic religious freedom during the debate last week,  BCI takes a break from Catholicism for a moment to respond to something we just saw in the Town Hall meeting between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

Obama said he had referred to the Benghazi assault as an “act of terror” in the Rose Garden the day after the assault.  The moderator claimed Obama was correct and agreed with him.  That is not really the fact at all.  Commentary summarized this well:

Obama said during the speech that “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation” — but at no point was it clear that he was using that term to describe the attack in Benghazi. He’d also spent the previous two paragraphs discussing the 9/11 attacks and the aftermath. “Acts of terror” could have just as easily been a reference to that. Or maybe it wasn’t a direct reference to anything, just a generic, reassuring line he’d added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks.

From the White House, here is what Obama said:

…Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi…

Of course, yesterday was already a painful day for our nation as we marked the solemn memory of the 9/11 attacks.  We mourned with the families who were lost on that day.  I visited the graves of troops who made the ultimate sacrifice in Iraq and Afghanistan at the hallowed grounds of Arlington Cemetery, and had the opportunity to say thank you and visit some of our wounded warriors at Walter Reed.  And then last night, we learned the news of this attack in Benghazi.

As Americans, let us never, ever forget that our freedom is only sustained because there are people who are willing to fight for it, to stand up for it, and in some cases, lay down their lives for it.  Our country is only as strong as the character of our people and the service of those both civilian and military who represent us around the globe.

No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.

From Commentary:

“If Obama wanted to call the Benghazi assault a terrorist attack in that speech, he had plenty of opportunities to do so. Instead, he described it as a “terrible act,” a “brutal” act, “senseless violence,” and called the attackers “killers,” not terrorists. It’s also important to consider the context. For a week after this speech, the White House would not call it a terrorist attack. The official position was that Libya was a spontaneous response to an anti-Islam film, not a premeditated or preplanned act.

Some may wonder why it even matters. Maybe Obama really was referring to Benghazi as an “act of terror” in the speech, and he just failed to make that clear enough — so what?

Actually, this is much more than an issue of semantics. Calling it a terrorist attack would have given Obama powers under the Authorization for the Use of Military Force Against Terrorists (AUMF) to use military action, including drone warfare, against the perpetrators. If he were serious about “bring[ing] to justice the killers,” which he vowed to do in the speech, then labeling this incident a terrorist attack (if he believed that’s what it was) would have been critical.

It seems to BCI that “No acts of terror..” (note plural “acts”) following his comments that commemorated American deaths in “9/11″ and “Iraq and Afghanistan” is a general reference to any act of terror. In contrast, when he describes “…this terrible act,” he is referring to the Benghazi assault, which he did not specifically describe as a “terrorist act.” We all know that UN Ambassador Susan Rice also made the rounds of Sunday morning news/talk shows 5 days after the assault and said the assault has apparently come from the spontaneous protest against the anti-Islam video. National Review reminds us that, “According to U.S. law, acts of terrorism are premeditated. The Obama administration’s line for days following Obama’s Rose Garden statement suggested that the attack wasn’t premeditated.”

Though technically Obama did use the words, “acts of terror” in the Rose Garden speech, he did not say the Libya act was an act of terrorism. If the White House and President Obama wanted to tell the U.S. that the assault was an “act of terror,” why did they not actually do that for nearly two weeks after the assault?

The mainstream media will probably distort this, or will not report this.  We wonder if the Romney campaign is sharp enough to get the facts out.

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10 Responses to Fact Check: Obama Did Not Call Benghazi an “Act of Terror”

  1. jbq2 says:

    I watched the debate on CBS. They did a poll after the debate from 500 uncomitted voters. One of the questions was which of the two answered the questions directly. 55% said Obama while 49% believed Romney. If CBS can’t get their math right, how can they be trusted? Last I heard, 104% is not an option.

  2. Ray Neary says:

    The MSM will obviously downplay what clearly was a generic use re: acts of terror. Candy Crowley, obviously, had previously discussed this with the White House. Obama could have added “,such as Benghazi,” and there would be no question. He didn’t. I’ve met Ed Gillespie, and he is sharp. Look for the Romney campaign to expand on what clearly exposed a government out of touch, and one which we know does not respect human life. They rely on a well-oiled cover-up machine, and that is already in action in another deal with the Clintons. We must pray for this nation as never before.

  3. Michael says:

    Ray, putting aside the obvious lie about Benghazi, you are blinded by what you think of as a worse evil in Obama. Romney is in no way shape or form pro-life. It is just as much a lie to claim that he is. He had no change of heart. As Governor, he instituted $50 co-pay abortions AFTER his supposed “change of heart.” Let’s be honest. We have two very evil men vying for leader of the free world. They both lie outright to the American public and we, like scared sheep, run to the one who claims to be less evil. Calling Romney pro-life makes a mockery of all of the good work that you did throughout your life to protect innocent life.

    • DBP says:

      Michael, here’s the bottom line: of the two candidates, which do you suppose is more likely to appoint a strict constructionist to the Supreme Court? Because that’s what it’s all about.

      Yes, Romney’s a politician – has anyone run for president within your memory who was not one? So he’s made pragmatic decisions, which have included some he had to hold his nose for.

      But again, ask yourself: Which of these two guys has more pro-life qualities – the one who voted four times in Illinois to let babies who survived abortions die, or the one who is a faithful Mormon and has declared himself “pro-life” (in contravention of the conventional wisdom)?

    • With all due respect for those commenting on this post who are justly passionate about the election and future of our country–as is BCI–in this post BCI merely set out to correct the record on one comment by Obama regarding the assault in Libya.

      Anyone planning to vote for Obama will not find support at this blog for a number of reasons. This post was not intended to spark a discussion on which major party candidate is better or worse to vote for on defense of life issues. That topic will need to wait for another time.

      • Ray Neary says:

        Michael, you made a quantum leap to state that I had claimed that Mitt Romney was pro-life. An apology is in order, and I wish to thank Mary Reilly for her post on my comment. Thank you for stating that I have done some good work to protect innocent human life. A dozen of us had a stand-out at MetroWest Medical Center this noon time. Check your reading accuracy, and refer to an article by me posted on Renew America, Alan Keyes’ website, “Please, Mitt, at least a mea culpa”. In the future, be more careful on how you extrapolate inaccurately. I will not rule out, however, that Mitt Romney has had a change of heart as Ronald Reagan did. The selection of Paul Ryan as a running mate was a very good sign toward that end. While not having received my vote in the Primary, he will in the general election. Blessings to you and all who seek to end this American Holocaust. Let us keep our thinking clear.

  4. Mary Reilly says:

    Michael,
    Are we reading a different comment? Ray Neary said, “Look for the Romney campaign to expand on what clearly exposed a government out of touch, and one which we know does not respect human life.” It’s a fact that the Obama administration does not respect human life.

    I think both Obama and Romney are flawed candidates, and I wish the country could put better forward for us.I agree Romney’s record on life in Massachusetts was not good. But, in voting as a faithful Catholic, it is permissible and encouraged to vote for the lesser of two evils. Are you saying that you would rather have Obama in office for the next 4 years instead of Romney, and thus you are voting for Obama?

  5. M.A. says:

    President Obama in his speech at the UN on September 25,2012 said the Benghazi attack of 9-11-2012 was caused by the film that was disrespectful of Islam’s prophet and “the future does not belong to anyone who is insulting to Mohammad”. Do a fact check on last nights debate–he said he called the attack an act of terror the next morning in the Rose Garden. Fact check both incidents.

  6. Mary Sweeney says:

    I am constantly amazed at the immediate clarity available to you without the benefit of accurate information or the time needed to obtain such.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/benghazi-attack-becomes-political-ammunition/2012/10/19/e1ad82ae-1a2d-11e2-bd10-5ff056538b7c_story.html?socialreader_check=0&denied=1

    • Excuse us, but in case you somehow missed the headline and main point of this blog post, it referred to whether Obama lied during the Town Hall debate about having called the Benghazi attack an “act of terror” in the Rose Garden the day after the attack. Please reread our post and check put what Obama actually said in the Rose Garden vs what he said he said. We posted Tuesday night right after the debate using objectively verifiable fact. You come along with something new just published Friday, which, if proven true, is new information not previously made public, and which actually contradicts what Obama said in the Tuesday Town Hall event–and you are criticizing BCI for not fact-checking? We stand by our Tuesday evening post.

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