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The Boston Globe

Opinion

Juliette Kayyem

Foreign policy and the parental perspective

With a single misstatement at Tuesday night’s debate, Governor Romney succeeded where the Obama administration hadn’t: He negated the political consequences of the attacks in Benghazi, Libya, crushing them under the weight of their own artificiality.

Romney kept insisting that President Obama did not refer to the murder of four Americans as “terrorism” in his initial response. In fact, Obama referred to them as “acts of terrorism,” in his first statement, and called the attack an “act of terror” the next day. After the debate, Republicans were in the unenviable position of arguing the semantic differences between “acts of terrorism” and “terrorists.” That segment of the debate — Romney’s insistence that Obama hadn’t called the attacks terrorism and moderator Candy Crowley’s “yes, he actually did” retort — was replayed over and over again.

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