- The Washington Times - Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Conservatives were outraged Wednesday at revelations that Gwen Ifill, the moderator for Thursday’s vice-presidential debate between Sen. Joseph R. Biden Jr. and Gov. Sarah Palin, is writing a book to be published on Inauguration Day titled “The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama.”

The Amazon.com description of the book says the journalist “surveys the American political landscape, shedding new light on the impact of Barack Obama’s stunning presidential campaign and introducing the emerging young African-American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.”

The book also will focus on up-and-coming leaders such as Newark, N.J., Mayor Cory Booker and includes an interview with Mr. Obama. The Amazon description says she will show “why this is a pivotal moment in American history.”

An aide to Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain said the book “certainly raises eyebrows as to whether she will be able to maintain journalistic integrity.”

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Mr. McCain told Fox News that Miss Ifill is “a professional” and said he thought “she will do a completely objective job.” Mrs. Palin said: “I’m not going to let it be a concern.”

But conservative columnist Michelle Malkin wrote that Miss Ifill is “so far in the tank for the Democratic presidential candidate, her oxygen delivery line is running out.”

Miss Ifill acknowledged Wednesday not telling the Commission on Presidential Debates, but dismissed the criticisms, saying she has “a pretty long track record covering politics and news,” and is not worried by a day of blog chatter.

However, the book’s release was publicized in a Washington Post profile of Miss Ifill, along with a July 23 Associated Press article published in hundreds of newspapers nationwide, including The Washington Times and Mr. McCain’s hometown paper in Arizona.

Miss Ifill wrote an Aug. 21 article for Time outlining her upcoming book. That same day, the McCain and Obama campaigns released a joint statement saying they had agreed on terms and moderators for their three debates.

Some Democratic strategists grumbled that the timing of the issue [-] which dominated Wednesday’s cable news chatter [-] was suspect and perhaps pushed to the Drudge Report by Republicans worried about Mrs. Palin’s performance.

The moderator of the first debate, PBS’ Jim Lehrer, has strict rules on impartiality: “News Hour” employees cannot have political bumper stickers on their cars in the company parking lot.

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