Hempstead, N.Y. — Senior Republican officials are fuming about Candy Crowley’s attempted fact check on Libya at Tuesday’s debate. “When you’re wrong on a pivotal issue, such as Libya, you have to give her an F,” says Representative Jason Chaffetz of Utah, a top Romney surrogate.
Sean Spicer, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, agrees. “She was wrong,” he says. “She injected herself into the debate, and that was not her role.”
Those comments reflect the consensus among many Republican operatives and lawmakers. After the debate, they expressed deep frustration with Crowley for rapping Romney in front of a national television audience.
“So, so typical,” says a well-known Republican. “I really wish I was more surprised.”
In the post-debate spin room, however, Romney’s media strategists were cagey. Speaking on the record, they didn’t bash Crowley. “Candy was dandy,” said Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior Romney adviser. “We don’t complain about the refs.”
“If she had been right, it would have been okay,” added Ron Kaufman, a senior Romney adviser. “I wouldn’t mind, but the fact check was wrong.”