American Crossroads, the conservative super PAC backed by Karl Rove, released a new web video Thursday targeting President Barack Obama for his administration's response to the attack in Libya last month that took the lives of four Americans, including Ambassador Christopher Stevens.
The video opens with a heated exchange on the subject between Obama and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney during the second presidential debate on Tuesday. During the debate, Romney challenged the president for stating that on the day after the attack, he had referred to it as an "act of terror" in an official statement from the Rose Garden -- arguing that the administration insisted for two weeks that it was not a premeditated terrorist attack but rather a protest in response to an anti-Islamic video.
The Crossroads video pulls the following exchange between the two candidates before playing a series of televised statements from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, UN Ambassador Susan Rice and Obama himself invoking the anti-Islamic video to explain the attack.
"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?" Romney asked Obama.
"Please proceed, Governor," Obama responded.
"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," Romney said.
The video then shows footage of moderator Candy Crowley agreeing with Romney that the administration spent two weeks indicating that the attack in Benghazi had been due to a spontaneous demonstration. What it does not show is that Crowley also fact-checked Romney, confirming that the president did use the words "act of terror" in his Rose Garden speech on Sept. 12.
While the goal of the video is to question what Obama knew about the attack and imply that his administration misled the American public, the details are much more complicated. The president used the phrase "acts of terror" both the day after the attack and at a campaign event the same week, but it is also true that for two weeks his administration stated that the attack was not a preplanned act of terrorism.
With the final presidential debate focused on foreign policy just days away, the president's opponents will undoubtedly continue to raise questions on Libya. It remains to be seen if he will have answers on Monday night.