CNN's Managing Editor sent an email around the office today, praising Candy Crowley and trying to blunt criticism that she was unfair to Mitt Romney.
The email -- sent by Mark Whitaker and obtained by TMZ -- is almost a series of talking points to address Candy's critics.
Here's the full email:
"Let's start with a big round of applause for Candy Crowley for a superb job under the most difficult circumstances imaginable. She and her team had to select and sequence questions in a matter of hours, and then she had to deal with the tricky format, the nervous questioners, the aggressive debaters, all while shutting out the pre-debate attempts to spin and intimidate her. She pulled it off masterfully.
The reviews on Candy's performance have been overwhelmingly positive but Romney supporters are going after her on two points, no doubt because their man did not have as good a night as he had in Denver. On the legitimacy of Candy fact-checking Romney on Obama's Rose Garden statement, it should be stressed that she was just stating a point of fact: Obama did talk about an act (or acts) of terror, no matter what you think he meant by that at the time. On why Obama got more time to speak, it should be noted that Candy and her commission producers tried to keep it even but that Obama went on longer largely because he speaks more slowly. We're going to do a word count to see whether, as in Denver, Romney actually got more words in even if he talked for a shorter period of time."
TMZ broke the story ... some honchos at CNN want the criticism to go away, even though it's shining a light on one of their most high-profile personalities -- and you just can't buy this type of publicity.