Debate co-chair: Picking Candy Crowley to moderate was a "mistake"

Journalist Candy Crowley prepares to moderate the second presidential debate with President Barack Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York, October 16, 2012.

Picking Candy Crowley, host of CNN's Sunday show "State of the Union," to moderate one of the 2012 presidential debates was a "mistake," one of the debate organizers said yesterday.

"We made one mistake this time: Her name is Candy," Frank Fahrenkopf, a co-chair of the Commission on Presidential Debates, said bluntly at an event in Las Vegas, political reporter Jon Ralston reported Tuesday .

Crowley took heat from conservatives for her performance as moderator of the second presidential debate last year after she interrupted an exchange between President Obama and Mitt Romney about the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Specifically, Mr. Obama and Romney were debating when the president first called the Libya attacks an "act of terror." Crowley backed up the president, saying, "he did in fact" deem the attack an act of terror on the day he claimed.

"He did call it an act of terror," she told Romney, before adding that "it did, as well, take two weeks or so for the whole idea of there being a riot out there about this tape to come out. You are correct about that."

Crowley later explained that she was simply trying to move the conversation forward, though at least one conservative group called on her to be fired following the debate. While the Commission on Presidential Debates is a nonpartisan organization, Fahrenkopf formerly served as chair of the Republican National Committee.