- 12 октября 2012, 05:18
- POLITICO. TOP 10 Blogs
In the very first fifteen minutes of tonight's vice-presidential debate, Martha Raddatz showed audiences that she intended to play a much more active role than PBS's Jim Lehrer did at the first presidential debate last week.
Far from leaving the floor to the two candidates, Raddatz asked questions throughout the first fifteen minutes, and pressed both to be more specific about their remarks -- indeed, at one point Raddatz told Vice President Joe Biden just that: "Be specific."
Then, when she was ready to move the conversation to Iran, Raddatz interrupted Rep. Paul Ryan with a definitive, "I'd actually like to move to Iran."
Raddatz's questions were also far more pointed than Lehrer's. In her first, addressing the recent terrorist attack in Libya, Raddatz asked Biden, "'Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure?'" She struck a similar tone in her questions to Rep. Ryan.
If audiences approve of Raddatz's assertiveness, it could cause further problems for Lehrer, who was widely criticized for his passive performance last week, and could cause some problems for the Commission on Presidential Debates, which defended his approach.
UPDATE: For example, Raddatz's first questions to each candidate:
TO BIDEN: "I would like to begin with Libya. On a rather somber note, one month ago tonight, on the anniversary of 9/11, Ambassador Chris Stevens and three other brave Americans were killed in a terrorist attack in Benghazi. The State Department has now made clear, there were no protesters there, it was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men. Wasn't this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?"
TO RYAN: I just want to you about right in the middle of the crisis. Governor Romney, and you're talking about this again tonight, talked about the weakness; talked about apologies from the Obama administration. Was that really appropriate right in the middle of the crisis?
And this exchange with Biden:
BIDEN: With all due respect, that's a bunch of malarkey.
RADDATZ: And why is that so?
BIDEN: Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all...
RADDATZ: Be specific.
BIDEN: I will be very specific. Number one...