The Cable

Obama did call Benghazi attack an 'act of terror' - in Colorado

President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney sparred over whether Obama called the Sept. 11 murder of four Americans in Benghazi a "terrorist" attack. In fact, Obama did refer to the attack as an "act of terror," but he did not do so directly in the Rose Garden the next day.

Romney said during Tuesday night's debate that it took 14 days for Obama to acknowledge that the attack was a terrorist attack, while Obama and CNN's Candy Crowley agreed that Obama said so Sept. 12 in remarks in the Rose Garden. In those remarks, journalists noticed, he did not explicitly refer to the Benghazi attack as an "act of terror," though he did use those words.

"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," he said.

Commentary's interpretation was that he made that he was referring to the original 9/11 attacks, not the Benghazi attack the day before.

"'Acts of terror' could have just as easily been a reference to that. Or maybe it wasn't a direct reference to anything, just a generic, reassuring line he'd added into a speech which did take place, after all, the day after the anniversary of the 9/11 attacks," blogger Alana Goodman wrote.

But on Sept. 13, at a campaign event in Colorado, Obama again used the phrase "act of terror" and this time tied it directly to the Benghazi attack.

"So what I want all of you to know is that we are going to bring those who killed our fellow Americans to justice. I want people around the world to hear me: To all those who would do us harm, no act of terror will go unpunished. It will not dim the light of the values that we proudly present to the rest of the world. No act of violence shakes the resolve of the United States of America," he said.

Romney countered by saying that the Obama administration took too long to acknowledge that there were no protests outside the Benghazi mission before the attack and referred to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice's Sept. 16 comments claiming that according to the best information at the time, the attack was "spontaneous" and a reaction to an anti-Islam video.

For the first time, Obama said he bears ultimate responsibility for the Benghazi attack, and again promised to bring the attackers to justice.

In one of the most drama-filled moments of the debate, the president said that Romney's statements during and immediately after the attack amounted to a politicization of the issue and he said he found Romney's suggestion that administration officials might have misled Americans about the attack "offensive."

SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images

The Cable

Benghazi victim’s widow praises State Department cooperation

At least one of the family members of the victims of the Sept. 11 attack on Benghazi wants the world to know that she is happy with the treatment she has got from the Obama administration since the tragedy.

Heather Smith is the widow of State Department Foreign Service officer Sean Smith, who died in the first wave of attacks as armed assailants stormed the U.S. consulate in Benghazi. Amb. Chris Stevens also died in the initial attack. Former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Dougherty were killed later, when an annex building outside the compound was hit by mortars after U.S. personnel retreated there.

Heather Smith, who lives in The Hague, Netherlands, issued a statement Tuesday to The Cable.

"First, let me thank everyone for the outpouring of support and love my family has received in the wake of this tragedy. As the country mourns the death of four great patriots, my family is grieving for a husband and father lost. The amazing tributes to him have given the entire world a glimpse of the man we loved and we are thankful for every kind word," she said.

"During this time, the official and unofficial support and communications I have experienced with the Department of State and FBI have been free flowing, and I have been satisfied with the level of information I have received. I have no doubt that I will also be made aware of any new facts as they are uncovered throughout the investigations."

"Sean was a wonderful man. He supported the mission of diplomacy and served his country with pride and optimism," said Smith. "We miss him every day."

Heather Smith's statement can be seen as a reaction to the interview Sean's mother Pat Smith gave to CNN last week complaining that the Obama administration has not been helpful in keeping her in the loop about what happened to her son.

"I begged them to tell me what what happened. I said I want to know all the details, all of the details no matter what it is, and I'll make up my own mind on it. And everyone of them, all the big shots over there told me that -- they promised me, they promised me that they would tell me what happened. As soon as they figure it out. No one, not one person has ever, ever gotten back to me other than media people and the gaming people," she said. (Smith was an avid gamer.)

"I look at TV and I see bloody hand prints on walls, thinking, my God, is that my son's? I don't know if he was shot. I don't know -- I don't know. They haven't told me anything. They are still studying it. And the things that they are telling me are just outright lies."

Woods's mother Cheryl Croft Bennett is also unhappy with the investigation. She took to her Facebook page last month to criticize the FBI for not getting to Benghazi until almost three weeks after the attack.

"Apparently they have made it to Tripoli but haven't been allowed to enter Benghazi. Meanwhile, the diplomatic outpost where Tyrone and Glen died, was not and is not secured. Absolutely unacceptable," she wrote on Sept. 27.

Stevens's father Jan Stevens told Bloomberg this week that he is more upset with the Romney campaign and that politicizing the tragedy would be "abhorrent." Barbara Doherty, Glen's mother, also asked the Republican nominee to stop repeating an anecdote about how he met her son once, saying "I don't trust Mitt Romney."