So, CNN‘s Candy Crowley, who is going to moderate tomorrow’s townhall-style presidential debate, wants to interject herself into the Q & A of the contenders by the public despite that not being what either campaign agreed to.
While an early October memorandum of understanding between the Obama and Romney campaigns suggests CNN’s Candy Crowley would play a limited role in the Tuesday-night session, Crowley, who is not a party to that agreement, has done a series of interviews on her network in which she has suggested she will assume a broader set of responsibilities. As Crowley put it last week, “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?’”
In the view of both campaigns and the commission, those and other recent comments by Crowley conflict with the language the two campaigns agreed to, which delineates a more limited role for the moderator of the town-hall debate. The questioning of the two candidates is supposed to be driven by the audience members themselves — likely voters selected by the Gallup Organization.
I guess Ms. Crowley heard all the criticism that Jim Lehrer received for being a potted plant and she doesn’t want to get the same treatment. I can’t say that I blame her. Personally, I would prefer it if she would call bullshit because otherwise that becomes the president’s job. And the president would rather answer the voters’ questions than spend all his time correcting whatever it is that Romney just said.
Newt Gingrich said (about Romney) that it is impossible to debate a liar. I don’t think it is impossible, but it is more difficult if there is no moderator willing to challenge blatant falsehoods and flip-flops. In the Saturday Night Live skit of the first debate, they had Jim Lehrer tell the president that Romney had just claimed credit for killing bin-Laden. They got that wrong. Jim Lehrer probably wouldn’t have even mentioned a lie like that. At least, that’s what his record on that night tells us. We don’t need a repeat of that.
On the other hand, Candy Crowley’s idea of the truth has never been all that firm, so maybe she should just stay out of it.