Fact-checking the second presidential debate

During the second presidential debate at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y., President Obama and Governor Mitt Romney debate their plans for lowering gas prices and the future of energy policy in America.

President Obama and Mitt Romney met for a contentious second presidential debate Tuesday night at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y. The candidates fielded questions from undecided voters in the audience, answering on topics including the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, domestic energy production, job creation and the auto bailout. Below, looks at how their assertions hold up.


OBAMA: "The day after the attack, governor, I stood in the Rose Garden and I told the American people in the world that we are going to find out exactly what happened. That this was an act of terror and I also said that we're going to hunt down those who committed this crime.

And then a few days later, I was there greeting the caskets coming into Andrews Air Force Base and grieving with the families.

"And the suggestion that anybody in my team, whether the Secretary of State, our U.N. Ambassador, anybody on my team would play politics or mislead when we've lost four of our own, governor, is offensive. That's not what we do. That's not what I do as president, that's not what I do as Commander in Chief."

ROMNEY: "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?... 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... The administration indicated this was a reaction to a video and was a spontaneous reaction..."

In Sept. 12 remarks in the White House Rose Garden reacting to the Libya attack, Mr. Obama did refer generally to "acts of terror," though he didn't specifically call the attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi an act of terrorism.

"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," Mr. Obama said. "Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America. We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act. And make no mistake, justice will be done."

It's true that the administration, including U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice, maintained for several days that the attack was spontaneous and the result of protests over an inflammatory anti-Muslim video. Meanwhile, CBS News reported on Sept. 12 that the assault appeared to be a planned terrorist attack.

In his speech to the U.N. General Assembly on Sept. 25, Mr. Obama did not give any indication that the attack was an act of terrorism, instead repeatedly referencing the anti-Muslim YouTube video that allegedly spurred spontaneous protests.