Did presidential debate moderator Candy Crowley “facilitate the discussion” when she selectively fact-checked Mitt Romney on Benghazi but not President Obama? We asked Michael D. McCurry, co-chairman of the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD) and former White House press secretary under President Clinton, what he thought. His full response appears below:
As the CPD announced months ago, Ms. Crowley’s assignment was to facilitate a discussion after the candidates answered a question from one of our town hall guests. The editorial judgments on how best to do that were left to the moderator. We were not, important to say, a party to any separate agreement the campaigns negotiated.
My view (not speaking for the Commission) is that Ms. Crowley was trying to move the discussion to a new topic. I think that is what she was attempting… not “fact checking” since she clearly had many opportunities to do that from which she refrained. The candidates, as you noticed I am sure, were liberally disregarding their own consent to
abide by a two-minute time limit in their initial answers. She needed to get the conversation to move on.
One man’s opinion. But we did get a vibrant, interesting, balanced, and informative engagement. That’s what we wanted. I hope you agree.
There’s no denying Tuesday’s debate was vibrant, interesting and informative. “Balanced” may be going a bit too far.
Richard Diamond is Managing Editor for Opinion at The Washington Times.