Candy Crowley, the second female moderator in the presidential debates, is taking some fire for becoming “an active part of the debate”, as alleged by New Hampshire governor John Sununu. Her comment to Governor Romney during the tense back-and-forth over the Libya attacks–in which she asserted that President Obama did, in fact, call it an act of terror the next day rather than two weeks later, as Romney insisted–has garnered disdain from the Republicans, who seem to think she was choosing sides.
“Both the moderator and the president were dead wrong on the Libya question,” Sununu said. “Candy was wrong. Candy had no business doing that … I think Candy Crowley decided she wanted to be an active part of the debate.”
However, Crowley was simply fact-checking, and did actually acknowledge to Romney that it did take fourteen days for some of the facts to come to light about the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Libya, which killed four people. Crowley says she was just doing her job, however.
“I was trying to move the conversation along. They got stuck on this,” she said. And on the topic of the Republicans who take issue with the way she moderated, she said, “I’m sorry they’re upset, but tomorrow they’ll be upset about something else, as will the Democrats.”
Indeed, both Romney and Obama barreled over one another several times during the debate, especially during heated topics. They both went over their given time limits and both talked over Crowley, who refused to be ignored. Often, she had to gently but firmly push them into the next topic or onto the next question from town hall audience members, reminding them several times that there was still a lot to be discussed. She says that she was unaware of a memo stating that “the moderator will not ask follow-up questions or comment on either the questions asked by the audience or the answers of the candidates” and says she was simply trying to move things along. Interjecting a fact-check was her way of putting an end to an escalating argument which was going nowhere.
The subject of Libya caused things to get especially tense on the floor. Obama said he “took offense” at Romney’s accusations that he hadn’t done everything in his power to keep the safety of his employees a top priority, especially considering he was close to those who lost their lives and mourned with their families after news of the attacks broke. However, Crowley says she didn’t feel the tension.
“There was a territorial imperative thing going on,” Crowley says. “But I didn’t feel the tension that everyone else seemed to feel.”
Image: Jim Young