The Stanly News and Press (Albemarle, NC)

Features

October 17, 2012

Moderator Crowley makes presence felt

HEMPSTEAD, N.Y. — True to her predictions, moderator Candy Crowley was an active, aggressive and prominent presence in Tuesday night's second presidential debate.

The longtime CNN reporter and host pressed, poked and prodded President Barack Obama and GOP nominee Mitt Romney when necessary, and occasionally played fact-checker and referee between the two men, during a town-hall debate at Hofstra University in New York.

Despite a format that was supposed to put the spotlight on undecided voters, Crowley's influence was substantial. She wound up asking 10 questions, one fewer than the voters chosen by the Gallup Organization as the primary questioners of the candidates.

Crowley also exerted an unseen influence over the debate. Under the rules, she was part of a team that selected the questions, as well as the order in which they were asked, by a cross section of Americans.

Once the debate began, she also was empowered, at her discretion, to extend the time for discussion of any question. In the end, Obama spoke for more than three minutes longer than the former Massachusetts governor during a debate that ran a bit over its scheduled 90 minutes.

Thanks to the format, the tenor of the debate was more conversational - and occasionally more confrontational - than the first presidential debate two weeks ago. At various times, a candidate rose from his stool and appealed directly to Crowley for time to address a statement by his opponent. At one point, Crowley ordered Romney to sit down.

Crowley's mission was beset by a small and fleeting controversy in the days leading up to the debate. The Obama and Romney campaigns had reservations about her role; they wanted no after-the-fact questions at all - a demand that essentially would have reduced her job to keeping time and holding the microphone for audience members.

But Crowley and the bipartisan Commission on Presidential Debates said they weren't bound by a memorandum of understanding between the campaigns. They stuck to a broader agreement with the campaigns from July that said Crowley's role was to "facilitate discussion," a catchall phrase that Crowley said included the right to pose questions after an audience member weighed in.

The only restriction, which Crowley did observe, was that she couldn't introduce a new topic in her follow-ups or offer her own opinions on the proceedings.

As Crowley told CNN this month: "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 and Z?' "

And that is generally what Crowley did, never wandering too far from the question at hand.

Her attempts to pin down both candidates on specific policies, though, were often rebuffed. When she asked Obama early on whether $4 for a gallon of gas is "the new normal," the president didn't answer, instead attacking Romney about his support of the coal industry.

Similarly, when she followed up a voter's question about immigration by asking Romney about his support for "self-deportation" of undocumented immigrants, Romney ignored her and launched into a critique of the president's inability to pass comprehensive immigration legislation during his first year in office.

She also corrected Romney for saying that Obama had failed to characterize the killing of the American ambassador to Libya last month as an act of terrorism. "He did say that," she said. Her response drew scattered applause from the audience and a retort from Obama: "Can you say that a little louder, Candy?"

Obama and Romney were so aggressive with each other that Crowley at moments struggled to separate them verbally. In that sense, she was similar to ABC's Martha Raddatz, who kept last week's vice-presidential debate largely within the rules.

Crowley seems unlikely to take the public drubbing that befell PBS' Jim Lehrer, who was widely criticized for his open-ended questions and for permitting Obama and Romney to exceed time limits in their first presidential debate.

For the record, Crowley was the fourth woman to moderate a presidential debate. The first was National Public Radio's Pauline Frederick, who moderated the second debate between President Gerald R. Ford and Jimmy Carter in 1976. Barbara Walters of ABC News moderated the third Carter-Ford debate that year, as well as the 1984 debate between President Ronald Reagan and challenger Walter Mondale.

Carole Simpson, then of ABC News, was the moderator for a town-hall debate involving President George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton and Ross Perot in 1992.

 

1
Text Only
Features
  • Uwharrie Players No. 1 Anyone know whodunit?

    So whodunit?
    Forget Col. Mustard, the library and the candlestick, this time it was the drama student in the Jesse F. Niven Center with the bottle of poison.
    At this year’s Uwharrie Players Drama Camp, campers took the stage not just to act, but to figure out who poisoned Gladdis, the talent scout.

    July 21, 2014 3 Photos

  • Kudzu Quiche A Bonus in Study of Invasive Species

    High School students who chose to study invasive species during their week at the National Environmental Summit at Catawba College probably didn't think they'd be baking a kudzu quiche. But they did, and they served it, along with other kudzu creations, at the final festival.

    July 19, 2014

  • Pottery No. 1 Wheel of Clay

    Rome wasn’t built in a day and a potter wasn’t made in one either, Seagrove potter Sid Luck, 69, said at his pottery class at the Niven’s Center Tuesday.

    July 15, 2014 3 Photos

  • Archie Smith Psaltery Sounds

    About two years ago, Archie Smith got into an argument with his table saw.
    As he says, the table saw won.

    June 30, 2014 3 Photos

  • P1160049_zps0528ec83.jpg Jammin' at Junior's

    Benjamin Franklin once wrote: “ … in this world nothing can be said to be certain, except death and taxes.” If Franklin was alive today in western Stanly County, he would need to amend his statement to include “and Friday night jam sessions at Junior Harris’.”

    June 17, 2014 2 Photos

  • KelliePickler_TheWomanIAm_LPCover.png Kellie Pickler set to release album with limited edition vinyl pressing

    NASHVILLE, Tenn. – Black River Entertainment announced the release of a limited edition vinyl version of country music singer/songwriter Kellie Pickler’s critically-acclaimed current album, The Woman I Am.  This is the first vinyl album for Kellie Pickler, and it features exclusive cover art, different from the CD version.

    June 16, 2014 1 Photo

  • wedding (12 of 21).tif Fairy Tales Can Come True

    Once upon a time in Stanfield a little girl was born, but experienced problems during her delivery. Five years earlier, a little boy was born in Georgia with similar complications. Both suffered a brain bleed during child birth and had ventricular shunts placed in their heads.

    June 16, 2014 3 Photos

  • Social networks are the new matchmakers

    WASHINGTON - With studies showing that one-third of married couples started their relationships online, finding romance via URLs is no longer as novel - and creepy - as it seemed when dating sites launched in the mid-1990s.

    June 9, 2014

  • Dive into the World’s Most Diverse Marine Ecosystem when Journey to the South Pacific Arrives at Discovery Place on June 7

    CHARLOTTE – Audiences will be taken on an epic IMAX® adventure through the tropical islands of West Papua and experience one of the most extraordinary places on Earth, when the IMAX film Journey to the South Pacific comes to Discovery Place on June 7.

    June 6, 2014

  • iphone4.jpg Five major new features in iOS 8

    Apple has taken the wraps off its latest mobile operating system, iOS 8, introducing a suite of new features to users aimed at streamlining some of their most annoying daily tasks.

    June 6, 2014 1 Photo

House Ads
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Featured Comment
Twitter Updates
Seasonal Content
Poll

Will you participate in March Madness?

Yes I watch the games and complete a bracket.
Yes I complete a bracket.
No
     View Results