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You're reading far more into my comment than you ought to.

Reader comment on item: Reflections on the Second Presidential Candidates' Debate
in response to reader comment: Not lying but twisting the truth

Submitted by Carl (United States), Oct 17, 2012 at 20:08

My response was to Dr Pipes' comment that, "in fact [Obama] misrepresented the facts when he said 'The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people and the world that … this was an act of terror.' (Actually, he called it 'senseless violence.')" Given the actual transcript, Obama is entirely within his rights to maintain—without lying or deceiving—that he did in fact do the very thing Romney said he didn't. I have no sympathy for an attack in a debate (form either side) that is not based in fact, nor do I intend to cut Dr. Pipes slack on his blog post.

As to your comments above, I don't recall Obama saying Romney lied, but perhaps you heard a different debate than I did. Regardless, Mitt chose a poor angle of attack and it bit him in the butt. No tears here. He's a smart guy and should have been more prepared (though he himself is vulnerable on the Beghazi front as well). We do far better when we (1) get our own facts straight, (2) give credit where credit is due, and then (3) bring charges that are based on 1 & 2, which then prove far more difficult to escape.

You obviously have your own opinion on what the Obama administration should or should not have done in the two weeks before they returned to an official categorization of the act. Personally, I'm not privvy to the goings-on in such rarified air, nor do I know what Ambassador Stevens' thoughts on the subject were or his actions with respect to the requests made for additional security (he may well have decided not to forward them in the interests of the more open image he liked to put forth). In the absence of reliable information (the hearings were useful, but unfortunately marred by point-scoring as everything is these days), I'm inclined to give the administration some leeway on this one, especially since I would not have wanted to be in their shoes on 9/11/12.

Your criticism is certainly not off base, but it misses the more important point. I'm far less concerned with whether the attack was labelled an "act of terror" within 24 hours (when there would have been nothing resembling reliable information) than I am with how the video was characterized in contrast to the riots themselves. We take the absolute wrong angle of attack on this when importance is placed on how quickly the administration took the terror angle when, instead, there is the far more serious question of why a mildly offensive video was characterized as "disgusting and vile" while *disgusting and vile* acts where merely characerized as "senseless violence."

But this is neither here nor there. Romney choose a poor angle of attack last night and it cost him a real chance to put some pressure on Obama. Dr. Pipes wrote a poor response to the topic, and that has also cost him (though very little, I'll wager, as his scholarship speaks louder than his political punditry). It is my sincere hope that before too many more years have passed, we will get past this knee-jerk, point-scoring mentality and take the time to think through our criticisms and look at them not for their strengths but for their weaknesses. When we can do that, we'll be one more step in the direction of getting things *right* rather than "Right."

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Note: Opinions expressed in comments are those of the authors alone and not necessarily those of Daniel Pipes. Original writing only, please. Comments are screened and in some cases edited before posting. Reasoned disagreement is welcome but not comments that are scurrilous, off-topic, commercial, disparaging religions, or otherwise inappropriate. For complete regulations, see the "Guidelines for Reader Comments".

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