Politifact Gets It Wrong Again: Obama Did Consistently Use “Act of Terror” to Describe Libya Attack

“Half true?”

The right wing blogs and media are all screeching in unison again, furiously trying to pretend that President Obama never referred to the Libyan embassy attack as an “act of terror” until 2 weeks later.

In other words, as usual, they’re all shilling for Mitt Romney’s lies.

So let’s look at President Obama’s exact words, as he delivered them in the White House Rose Garden on September 12, 2012: Remarks by the President on the Deaths of U.S. Embassy Staff in Libya | the White House.

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.

The right wing spin is that Obama was speaking of “acts of terror” in a general sense — but that’s ridiculous. The only way you can believe that is if you totally ignore the sentences that follow, where he specifically makes the connection to the Libya attack.

But then, that’s what right wingers are great at — ignoring facts and context. Politifact isn’t supposed to do that, though. Their report on Romney’s lie is almost as bad as the right wing spin: PolitiFact | Romney Says Obama Waited 14 Days to Call Libya Attack Terror.

In fact, Obama described it in those terms the day after the attack. But in the days that followed, neither he nor all the members of his administration spoke consistently on the subject. There were many suggestions that the attack was part of demonstrations over an American-made video that disparaged Islam.

We rate the statement Half True.

Unfortunately, Politifact’s claim that Obama only used the T word once, the day after the attack, is just flat wrong.

He used the same phrase to refer to the Libyan attack in Colorado the very next day, September 13: Remarks by the President in Golden, CO | the White House.

Let me say at the outset that obviously our hearts are heavy this week — we had a tough day a couple of days ago, for four Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Libya.  Yesterday I had a chance to go over to the State Department to talk to friends and colleagues of those who were killed.  And these were Americans who, like so many others, both in uniform and civilians, who serve in difficult and dangerous places all around the world to advance the interests and the values that we hold dear as Americans. 

And a lot of times their work goes unheralded, doesn’t get a lot of attention, but it is vitally important.  We enjoy our security and our liberty because of the sacrifices that they make.  And they do an outstanding job every single day without a lot of fanfare.  (Applause.) 

So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice.  (Applause.)  I want people around the world to hear me:  To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world.  No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America.  (Applause.) 

The fact is that Obama consistently referred to the attack as an “act of terror,” in public, more than once, immediately following the incident.

Politifact should correct their mistake; Romney’s statement, echoing a bogus right wing attack line, was simply false.

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