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AP: d7cbccd9-5a1f-4ac6-bf38-e47568fc382b
In this Oct. 16, 2012 file photo, President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney exchange views during the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. They interrupt each other, bicker and ignore the moderator. Romney poses his own questions and demands answers. "That's not true," Obama huffs over and over. This is presidential conduct? It was squirm-inducing for some viewers. But the candidates have little to lose by cranking up the heat in a tight face, where the focus is on persuading the undecided and firing up their fans. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Tuesday night's debate played out exactly as planned.

While Romney stayed the course and delivered an identical performance to the previous debate, Obama, as expected, showed up and came out swinging and looking like he had a point to prove. The moderator, Candy Crowley, had to paint herself as an unbiased referee. In our estimation, both the president and Romney accomplished their individual missions. Let's also hand it to Crowley. She accomplished her mission...through nearly 45 minutes. That is when her true colors started to shine.

Each side will claim victory for this battle. Each side will claim that the other side lied. They are both right on both accounts. Each side had their moments of victory.Let's call it truth-bending or tactfully avoiding the truth.

One truth-bending moment that evolved into a blatant lie was, of course, Benghazi. This is where things started to unravel for the president. Crowley joined in to bail the president out by attempting to lend journalistic credibility to the president's claim that he announced that Benghazi was a terror attack from the Rose Garden the day after the Sept. 11th attack:

ROMNEY: I - I think it's interesting the president just said something which... which is that on the day after the attack he went into the Rose Garden and said that this was an act of terror.
OBAMA: That's what I said.
ROMNEY: You said in the Rose Garden the day after the attack, it was an act of terror? It was not a spontaneous demonstration, is that what you're saying?
OBAMA: Please proceed, governor.
ROMNEY: I want to make sure we get that for the record because it took the president 14 days before he called the attack in Benghazi an act of terror.
OBAMA: Get the transcript.
CROWLEY: It ó it ó it ó he did in fact, sir! So let me ó let me call it an act of terror.
OBAMA: Can you say that a little louder, Candy?
CROWLEY: He...he did call it an act of terror. It did as well take, it did as well take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that.

Ok, Mr. President. We got the transcript. Here is the transcript of the statements made by the president on Sept. 12th.

Notice that the words "terror," "terrorist" and "terrorist act" are NEVER used in describing the fatal events in Benghazi.

Romney tried to seize the moment by spelling out the fact that Obama sent U.S. Ambassador Rice out on five morning talk shows the following Sunday morning citing protests as the cause of the Benghazi attacks. In addition, the president cited the same thing while delivering his United Nations speech while on Letterman and the Joy Behar Show. Of course, he was cut off by Crowley as he was beginning to make this point.

We understand that truth bending is a part of politics, for example Fast and Furious. However, when a seasoned journalist/debate moderator doubles down, when all the chips are on the table, on a bold-faced lie, we've crossed a line. Romney was ready to capitalize on the moment, but the president was saved by Crowley. Keep in mind that Crowley later admitted that Romney was correct and that she made a mistake. Unfortunately, the damage was done.

This morning, Crowley solidified her support for the president while defending her actions.

"I was trying to move this along," she said. "There is no question the administration is quite vulnerable on this topic."

She might as well have screamed, "FORWARD!"

No matter what side of the aisle you are one, we hope that you will do your homework before you vote next month. Please do not let the headlines dictate your opinion. Search for the truth.

Let records and facts be your guide, not talking blowholes.

Mike Russell/Michael Weinstein, Hosts, Mike & Winey Show

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