As the first woman moderator for a presidential debate in two decades, CNN’s Candy Crowley is facing surprising criticism from both the Romney and Obama campaigns.
Mark Halperin reported on Morning Joe Monday that both presidential campaigns have expressed concern over the active role the widely-respected Crowley plans to take as moderator of Tuesday’s second presidential debate.
Crowley, CNN’s chief political correspondent, host of State of the Union, and a veteran Washington reporter, was selected to moderate Tuesday’s presidential debate. The debate takes a town hall format, meaning that the public submits questions in advance, which Crowley can then select to pose to the candidates in person. After President Obama and Mitt Romney respond, Crowley can facilitate a follow-up discussion. The way in which that portion of the night is handled is causing anxiety in Chicago and Boston.
Crowley has given several interviews in the last few days expressing a desire to hold the candidates accountable for their statements during the debate. For example, Crowley told CNN the following: “Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?’”
Calling it a “complicated issue,” and “unique challenge” for Crowley, given the town hall format, Halperin said both the Commission on Presidential Debates, which hosts the debates, and the campaigns, “envision a much more limited role than they’ve heard her describe.”