Monday, August 20, 2012

2012 Presidential Debate Moderators Cause Stir

Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz
The Commission of Presidential Debates’ announced its selection of moderators for the 2012 debates: Jim Lehrer, Bob Schieffer, Candy Crowley and Martha Raddatz. 
Critics are dissatisfied with the decision not to include a single journalist of color. This announcement was slammed by the National Association of Black Journalists (NABJ) and the Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies.  Representatives of the Spanish language network Univision have also expressed displeasure with the lack of debate moderator diversity.

PBS’ Gwen Ifill is speaking out as well, telling the New York Times that she “was indeed disappointed”. The Times had reported that Ifill was “livid” about not being offered a role as a moderator this year despite the fact that Lehrer had previously said he didn’t want the job and she had ably filled the role during the 2004 and 2008 debates.

Rush Limbaugh is weighing in among those who admit to being dissatisfied, claiming that all of the selectees for moderator are “far, far left wing.”

Jim Lehrer of PBS is one of the most frequently chosen presidential debate moderators. He has presided over nearly a dozen presidential debates in the last quarter century. Lehrer moderated a September 2008 debate between Barack Obama and John McCain on foreign policy and national security at the University of Mississippi. He also was the moderator of a September 2004 presidential debate between President George W. Bush and Democratic nominee John F. Kerry, as well as all three presidential debates in 2000 between then-Vice President Al Gore and George W. Bush. He moderated both presidential debates in 1996 between President Bill Clinton and Sen. Bob Dole.

Lehrer moderated two of the three presidential debates in 1992 between  President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Clinton. And in 1988, Lehrer was moderator at a presidential debate between Vice President George H.W. Bush and Gov. Michael Dukakis.

CNN's Candy Crowley has been tapped as the first woman to moderate a presidential debate in more than two decades. Crowley will moderate the only tow hall-style debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney on Tuesday, Oct 16 at Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. That debate is just three weeks before election day.

The move will likely please a group of New Jersey teens who gained national attention in their crusade to have a woman moderate a debate.

Candy Crowley works for CNN (based out of the CNN Washington D.C. bureau) as a political news correspondent. She specializes in Presidential, Gubernatorial, and Senate elections. She was the backup host for Inside Politics. She is a strong supporter of the Republican party and even cried on air when Al Gore seemed to have won the 2000 Presidential election.

"As someone who is in awe and grateful every day to be in a country where freedom of the press, free speech and free elections are a way of life, I am wowed, amazed and excited by the opportunity to moderate a 2012 presidential debate," Crowley said in a statement.

Six days after Crowley makes her moderating debut, veteran Bob Schieffer of CBS News will moderate the final presidential debate.

Schieffer is CBS News' Chief Washington Correspondent and anchor of "Face The Nation." The debate takes place at Lynn University in Boca Raton, Fla. and centers on foreign policy, a topic that has taken a backseat to the economy throughout the election cycle thus far. The debate is scheduled for Oct. 22, just 15 days before election day.
The debate will be 90 minutes long and divided into six 15-minute segments. Schieffer has experience with presidential debates, as he moderated the final one between Obama and Sen. John McCain in 2008, as well as the final debate between President George W. Bush and Sen. John Kerry in 2004.

ABC News' Martha Raddatz will lead the vice presidential debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan in Danville, KY on October 11. In a congratulatory note, ABC's President Ben Sherwood said "Her selection is a great tribute to her toughness, fairness, reporting skills, political knowledge, and many talents as a fearless interviewer and journalist."

Raddatz currently serves as the network's Chief Foreign Correspondent. She reports for ABC's World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline, and other network broadcasts.

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