Media Blog

Newt vs. Debate Moderators

Newt promises, if he’s the nominee, that the debate moderators won’t be reporters:

Newt Gingrich lashed out at the media today during a rally in Pensacola, Florida, suggesting that all reporters are in the tank for President Obama:

“As your nominee, I will not accept debates in the fall in which the reporters are the moderators,” he said, “because you don’t need to have a second Obama person in the debate.”

But Janet Brown, a spokesperson with the Commission on Presidential Debates, suggested that reporters are actually best suited to moderate the debates.

“The Commission’s practice since we came into being in 1987 has been to choose moderators based on three criteria,” Brown explained. “Since these are live, hard news television events, you want moderators who have experience with live, hard news television events and are familiar with the demands of that environment. Number two, who are quite familiar with the positions of the candidates and the campaigns. And number three, who have the skills to facilitate a coversation between leading candidates for the presidency of the United States, which is a high pressure task.”

“It is, generally speaking, hard to find people that do all those things who are not journalists, and particularly TV journalists,” she added.

Mitt’s response is an instant classic, however:

I don’t think Newt’s going to have to worry about the format of the general election debates.

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