This morning on “Starting Point,” journalist and former debate moderator Carole Simpson weighs in on the guidelines for the role of Candy Crowley, who will be moderating tonight’s presidential town hall debate.
“[Crowley] has different marching orders than I had,” Simpson says. “I was told only to follow up if the question was not understandable, if it need clarification. My own audience was able to follow up and I don’t think her audience can follow up. I think she gets the follow up chances. So there’s – there are different guidelines for her as was given me.”
“I think it’s going to be tough, though, for her to interject herself,” Simpson adds. “This is the people’s debate. And the role of the moderator, as I saw myself, was to operate in the public interest, to make sure that their questions were being asked, not what I wanted asked although there were plenty.”
Soledad asks Simpson about her criticism of the process, where women moderators are not given choice slots in the presidential debates.
“I don’t want to think it’s sexism, but it sure does seem like it,” Simpson says. “That women are only given the vice presidential debate and given the town hall meeting, where basically we hold the microphone for other people to ask questions. Yet Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer got to go one-on-one with the candidates and ask their own questions. So it looks like women have been pigeon-holed into the women slot, which is not the big slot, which I think is one-on-one with the candidates.”