Late Sunday, Time magazine reported that both Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama have expressed concern that CNN’s Candy Crowley, the moderator of Tuesday’s town hall debate in Hempstead, N.Y., would ask follow-up questions—an approach that is not consistent with the format the campaigns agreed upon.
On Monday, Crowley addressed those concerns, saying she is not afraid to step in, if necessary.
“It’s a town hall meeting,” Crowley told Wolf Blitzer on “The Situation Room.” “There will be questioners to the right and left of me and in front of the candidates. And they will have the questions. And as was the case in the Charlie Gibson town hall meeting and the Tom Brokaw town hall meeting in presidential campaigns past, there is a time after that for follow-up and for furthering the discussion.”
“Facilitating the conversation, as it were,” Blitzer said.
“Whatever you want to call it, yes,” Crowley said.
Crowley—the first female moderator of presidential debate in 20 years—was asked how she is preparing for the event.
“I’m trying to just know what the facts are, what the positions are, so that when something comes up that maybe could use a little further explanation,” she said. “It might be as simple as, ‘But the question, sir, was oranges and you said apples. Could you answer oranges?’ Or it might be as simple as, ‘But, gee, how does that fit with the following thing?’”
The moderator chooses the questions submitted for the 90-minute debate by the town hall attendees–undecided voters selected by the Gallup Organization–and Crowley said she wants “to try to cull some new ground out there” and “really get a reflection of what these people want to know about, as well as what is out there for folks that haven’t quite figured it out yet.”
Good. Both candidates need to face tough questions. And I really don’t care how liberal the moderator. Have Rachel Maddow moderate for all I care.
Obama’s policies have been a failure and it’s Mitt’s job — regardless of the moderator — to make that clear.
And if either candidate complains that the moderator wasn’t fair, well too bad. Man up. This is the presidency, not a Montessori school.