|Countries in which Islamist terrorist attacks have occurred on or after September 11, 2001. Based on Image:BlankMap-World6, compact.svg with information from Image:WOT map4a.PNG. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)|
"this outrageous and shocking attack"
"this attack" (twice)
"this terrible act"
"brutal acts" -- indicating he is broadening his speech from the Benghazi attack to speak in a more generalized sense
He does not characterize the Benghazi attack as "this act of terror" "this act of terrorism", "this terrorist act", or "this act by terrorists".
Speaking generally about 9/11 and other such attacks, he does use the phrase "acts of terror". However, when Obama used the phrase "acts of terror" rather than the more straightforward "terrorist attacks" he was carefully distancing himself from terrorists and terrorism. He was leaving the impression that he had said something which in fact he had not said.
This is the pit that Romney came close to falling into. Romney clearly understood the phrase "acts of terror" to imply premeditation and planning. Obama was using the term much more loosely; he was equivocating and obfuscating. This is entirely in keeping with his administration's reluctance to call a spade a spade -- recall how his administration characterized the Fort Hood massacre -- absolutely refusing to refer to it as an act of terrorism, or even an "act of terror".
Note also that Obama characterizes the attack as "senseless violence". Acts of terrorism are by definition not senseless; they are done to support the achievement of some political or social goal; they certainly make sense to the perpetrators. This is a further indication that Obama was seeking to put distance in his speech between the administration's characterization of the attack and the usual connotations associated with acts of terrorism by terrorists.
For two weeks the Obama administration tried to deny what was obvious to anyone who cared to consider the matter: the Benghazi attack was premeditated, planned, and carried out as a deliberate attack on the US. It was an act of terrorism, by terrorists. What makes matters worse is this: they knew it. And for this the Obama administration needs to be held to account.
Writing from Istanbul, that's the way the Ball bounces.