Debate moderator Candy Crowley courted controversy on Tuesday late in the second presidential debate after she corrected Mitt Romney's assertion that the president did not call the attacks on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya "an act of terror" until 14 days after the incident.
The phrase "Go Candy" began trending nationwide on Twitter, as did the hashtag #getthetranscript -- President Obama's response when denying Romney's claim.
The Republican had seized on Obama's statement during the debate that, on the day following the Sept. 11 attack, he had described the assault on the consulate as an act of terror.
Obama insisted he had indeed made the statement, and Crowley sided with the president.
Candy loves to police Romney!As soon as he begins to win she shuts him down.— Glenn Beck (@glennbeck) October 17, 2012
There goes Candy holding Romney's feet to the fire while, letting Obama unchain his muse.— Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) October 17, 2012
president is at his best when he feels he's got candy crowley on his team. #debate— Kathryn Jean Lopez (@kathrynlopez) October 17, 2012
A transcript of Obama's remarks about the Libya attack in the White House on Sept. 12 show the president said: “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."
Crowley had not prompted much chatter on Twitter until that point in the debate. Her name was trending early on, until fiery exchanges between the candidates swept aside questions about the moderator.
Crowley seemed fully cognizant that much of the attention from viewers would be on her role as moderator.
"I will get run out of town if I don't get to these questions," she said at one point.
Before the debate, Crowley was already the center of attention. Both campaigns before the debate questioned whether she would seek to insert herself too forcefully into the town-hall debate set up to let likely voters offer questions to the candidates.
The two campaigns asked the commission that set up the debates to talk to Crowley, as the terms of the debate explicitly said that the moderator should not ask follow-up questions. Crowley before the debate said she would not abide by that agreement.
Liberal pundits and Obama supporters seemed to think Crowley was doing a good job, but charged Romney with rudeness when he talked over Crowley or asked Obama to let him finish speaking.
Romney is trying to bully Candy Crowley.He looks rude. I think it is because he tripped up on his tax answer. #debate— Hilary Rosen (@hilaryr) October 17, 2012
Romney is doing to Candy Crowley what he did to Jim Lehrer #debate— Chris Matthews (@hardball_chris) October 17, 2012
Both of them are trying to roll over Candy Crowley. And that can't be easy.— Bill Maher (@billmaher) October 17, 2012
Mitt is the kind of prep school bully who tells the president of the United States "you'll get your chance".— Bill Maher (@billmaher) October 17, 2012
The way Candy's handling Mitt, I am 100% certain she's nannied for a spoiled, wealthy, only child. #debate— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) October 17, 2012
President Barack Obama is kicking Mitt Romney's lying over entitled disrespectful butt in this debate. PERIOD.— Janelle Monae (@JanelleMonae) October 17, 2012
I just renamed her "Hard As Candy"! Keep them moving and on point @crowleycnn! Yay!— Jesse Tyler Ferguson (@jessetyler) October 17, 2012
Interest in the moderator was already high ahead of the debate, in part because moderators in the last two debates — the first presidential one on Oct. 3 and the vice presidential match last week — both earned almost as much analysis and criticism as the two candidates.
Jim Lehrer, the moderator in the first debate, was the subject of many “Poor Jim” tweets during the first presidential debate. His standing dropped among debate viewers on Twitter for what was viewed as a weak performance in his role.
Debate viewers on Twitter Tuesday night seemed to miss Raddatz. "Where is Martha" was trending half an hour into the evening's debate.
More from The Hill:
• Moderator Crowley helps Obama rebut Romney on Libya
• Video: Obama, Romney engage in stare-down
• Romney battles Obama over energy in testy, face-to-face debate exchange
• Obama saves attack on Romney's '47 percent' remarks for last