CNN "CNN Newsroom" - Transcript

Interview

By:  Phil Gingrey
Date: Oct. 17, 2012
Location: Unknown

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COSTELLO: OK. So joining me now is Republican congressman from Georgia, Phil Gingrey.

Good morning, Congressman.

REP. PHIL GINGREY, (R) GEORGIA: Good morning, Carol.

COSTELLO: It seemed that whole topic just evolved into an argument over semantics and it lacked substance. Do you agree?

GINGREY: No, I do not agree at all. The substance, of course, was the fact that Candy Crowley aided and abetted a misstatement made by the president in regard to saying on that morning in the Rose Garden on the 12th, one day after the attack, that it was not an act of terrorism. He was referring to terrorism in general in the 11th anniversary of 9/11 and he absolutely, as Candy Crowley walked it back after the debate, made no remark about Benghazi being an act of terrorism.

COSTELLO: Well, she would say -- and we just heard her in the last couple of minutes on CNN, defending when she had to say. She said in the Rose Garden -- this was a direct quote from the president. He said, "These acts of terror will never shake the resolve of this great nation." And then, of course, 14 days later the White House finally admitted that this was an orchestrated attack and that film had nothing to do with it.

Candy, in that debate clearly said that. So she was, indeed, accurate. I'm just saying that when you get right down to the substance, I think Governor Romney missed the chance to talk about the intelligence failures and why there was intelligence failures. I mean, why didn't he ask the president about those?

GINGREY: Well, I certainly hope that he will continue to pursue this. And I think he will in Florida next week with Bob Schieffer moderating, because this is all on foreign policy. So the buck stops on the president's desk.

I mean, he needs to remember the placard on Harry Truman's desk. And now it seems that the buck stops with Hillary Clinton? I know she wanted to have that 3:00 in the morning phone call, but now it looks like she's getting it. I almost feel sorry for her, for falling on the sword for the president. It's clearly the constitutional responsibility of the president as the commander-in-chief to protect American people, whether they're on domestic soil or foreign soil.

COSTELLO: And I think, sir -- I think, sir, that many would say those are really great points to bring up. So why are conservatives blaming the moderator? Why didn't Governor Romney come out and ask these very questions of the president?

GINGREY: I'm not picking on Candy Crowley.

COSTELLO: You did pick on Candy Crowley. You did.

GINGREY: I like Candy and I think she's fair. But I think the statement that she made when she chimed in and said that's right, Mr. President, you did say that, were misleading. That may have thrown Governor Romney off his game just for a second.

But, look, you talk about sparks flying. They were flying in the first debate, rolling in one direction, direct current if you will. I think in this debate, sparks went back and forth. So, we had had an alternating current. President Obama did better than the first time but he could hardly have done worse. But Mitt Romney did excellent in this debate. And I think he was the winner of both debates.

COSTELLO: OK. So just one last question about Candy Crowley. You did say she aided and abetted. So, do you take it back or do you still think that?

GINGREY: I don't take it back. I'm not saying she deliberately did that. I don't think Candy would do that. I do think she's fair and I watch her show every Sunday morning. Well, and I like her. I don't know her personally, but I like her. But I'm not taking back my statement. But she did, if inadvertently, she did aid and abet President Obama in that exchange.

COSTELLO: Well, as I said, what she said was accurate and she stands by it. Thank you, Congressman, for being with us this morning. We sure appreciate it.

GINGREY: Thank you.

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