Tag Archives: Mitt Romney

Tonight’s Debate: Will the Moderator be Allowed to Moderate?

Acccording to Time, both campaigns have complained to the Commission on Presidential Debates after moderator Candy Crowley made a series of statements on CNN indicating that she may not take the “hands-off” approach that both campaigns want for tonight’s town-hall-style debate. The quote causing the most concern was Crowley’s remark that, “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?’”

The two campaigns apparently agreed in early October to a debate with limited moderation – essentially Crowley would facilitate discussions based on questions she’d select from the audience. The town-hall format generally focuses on questions from likely voters (the Gallup Organization selects the audience), as opposed to the moderator-directed questions of the most traditional debate format. Although it seems reasonable to expect that a debate moderator would be well within her role to follow up on a voter’s question, that doesn’t seem to be what the candidates agreed to, according to the agreement obtained by Time.

According to the debate-format language in the agreement, after each audience question and two-minute responses from the candidates, Obama and Romney are expected to have an additional discussion facilitated by Crowley. Yet her participation is meant to be limited. As stated in the document, “In managing the two-minute comment periods, the moderator will not rephrase the question or open a new topic…. The moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates during the debate or otherwise intervene in the debate except to acknowledge the questioners from the audience or enforce the time limits, and invite candidate comments during the two-minute response period.”

Of course, Time notes, there’s absolutely no indication that Crowley also agreed to the terms laid out by the two campaigns. The Commission has said that they’ll discuss the agreement with Crowley, while both campaigns apparently prepare for a debate with a little more moderation than they wanted.

Source: Slate Magazine, October 15

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Mitt Romney versus Big Bird

“I’m going to stop the subsidy to PBS,” Romney said at Wednesday night’s debate.

“I’m going to stop other things. I like PBS, I love Big Bird. Actually, like you, too,” Romney continued, referencing debate moderator and host of PBS News Hour Jim Lehrer. “But I’m not going to – I’m not going to keep on spending money on things to borrow money from China to pay for.”

The comment generated 17,000 tweets per minute for “Big Bird” and 10,000 tweets per minute for “PBS,” according to @gov. Within minutes, parody Twitter accounts began popping up, including @FiredBigBird.

About 15 percent of PBS’s budget comes from federal funds. But for many rural stations, that percentage is much higher.

“Stations in rural parts of the country, where their parts of the federal funding is 40, 50, 60 percent, those stations will go off the air,” PBS chief executive Paula Kerger told CNN this morning. “The reach of our work is so extensive and so deeply rooted in education…the fact that we are in this debate at all is just incomprehensible.”

In 2011 the U.S. federal government spent about $430 million to support the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, which then divided that money between PBS, NPR and various other stations and programs.

Source: ABC News, October 4