Candy Crowley: Moderator Role in Town Hall Debate Includes Asking Followup Questions

Candy Crowley was on CNN’s “The Situation Room” this afternoon, and addressed complaints that the campaigns have made to the Commission on Presidential Debates. They say that she is planning to take a more active role as moderator, i.e. asking followup questions, than those that are spelled out in a debate agreement each campaign agreed to earlier this month.

Mark Halperin of Time got a hold of their debate agreement, which states, “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.”

But Crowley told Wolf Blitzer today that although it will be those in the audience asking the questions, she will do followup queries. “It’s a town hall
meeting.  There will be questioners to the right and left of me and in
front of the candidates.  And they will have the questions.  And as
was the case in the Charlie Gibson town hall meeting and the Tom Brokaw town
hall meeting in presidential campaigns past, there is a time after that for
follow-up and for furthering the discussion.”

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