President Obama claimed tonight that he called the Benghazi attack an act of terror the day after it occurred, in the Rose Garden. Mitt Romney seemed skeptical, and asked him whether he stood by that statement — that he’d called it terrorism, rather than a spontaneous act arising out of a demonstration.
But here are his remarks, in which the president made no specific reference to that effect, at least. He didn’t offer many details on what he knew of the events, beginning with just this description:
Yesterday, four of these extraordinary Americans were killed in an attack on our diplomatic post in Benghazi.
His only mention of “terror”:
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.
One could take that as a reference to acts which include the tragedy in Benghazi, obviously, but there was clearly no effort made to label it an act of terrorism. One reason why this might be: According to U.S. law, acts of terrorism are premeditated. The Obama administration’s line for days following Obama’s Rose Garden statement suggested that the attack wasn’t premeditated.