Talk show host Bill O’Reilly became the latest conservative voice to attack journalist Candy Crowley for her role as a moderator during Tuesday night’s second presidential debate between incumbent Barack Obama and Republican hopeful Mitt Romney.
O’Reilly accused the veteran CNN anchor for stepping out of the ring of impartiality to defend Obama when the two candidates faced off over the administration’s handling of last month’s attack in Libya.
Crowley corrected Romney following his accusation that Obama had not said it was a terrorist attack on the U.S. consulate that resulted in the deaths of four Americans, including U.S. Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens.
O’Reilly said that by fact-checking Romney in real time, Crowley “helped the president… when she should have stayed neutral.”
O’Reilly argued that the comments Obama made in the Rose Garden the day after the attacks were more generic, and he was not “specifically” calling what happened in Libya a terrorist attack.
O’Reilly became the latest right-leaning critic of Crowley’s actions. Earlier in the day, conservative firebrand Rush Limbaugh accused Crowley of “journalistic terror” for “feeding Obama lines.”
Crowley has defended her actions, saying she was simply trying to move the debate along.
O’Reilly concluded from the debate that the president “helped his cause” considerably following his first debate performance, but that Romney also had considerable success, establishing himself as the president’s “equal” on policy.
O’Reilly thought that Obama “gained the most” from Tuesday night’s debate at Hofstra University, saying that the president’s best moment was at the end when he brought up Romney’s comments about the 47 percent, while Romney’s best moment was when he attacked Obama on not keeping his promises to improve the economy.
But in the moment when Romney confronted Obama over energy policy, O’Reilly thought the exchange “did not [make him] look presidential, he looked like a cable news analyst.” On the other hand, O’Reilly thought that Obama came out looking weak when talking about gas prices and dodging an important question about the amount of security provided to the consulate in Libya.