The Real Winner Of Last Night’s Debate Was Martha Raddatz
9:30 am, October 12th | by Sarah Devlin
Last week’s presidential debate was almost universally frustrating, as viewers watched Jim Lehrer attempt to politely interrupt both candidates a handful of times, rather than, you know, moderating. This week’s vice-presidential debate, which had Paul Ryan, Joe Biden, and moderator Martha Raddatz sitting at the same small table (which is always amusingly awkward looking), was a breath of fresh air by comparison. Here’s what some people had to say about her performance:
From The New York Times:
Ms. Raddatz acted like a working journalist instead of a television personality from her first question, on Ambassador Stevens’ death: “It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men,” she said. “Wasn’t this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?”
Later, she pressed Mr. Ryan. “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?”
…Ms. Raddatz showed a consistent willingness to call the candidates on their “malarkey,” as the Vice President put it. When Mr. Ryan said he could cut taxes without reducing the deficit by eliminating loopholes, but didn’t actually mention which loopholes, she drew attention to his evasiveness: “No specifics, again.”
From The Washington Post:
In the New Testament, Martha does all the hard work while Mary sits at the feet of Jesus, learning. (Luke 10:38-42) Both jobs are clearly needed, but ABC foreign affairs correspondent Martha Raddatz, moderator of the debate between Vice President Joe Biden and Congressman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) clearly did the hard work of keeping the conversation on track despite vigorous debate between the two contenders.
Raddatz had to struggle on two fronts; both controlling the battling debaters in front of her, and criticism both before and during the debate.
The response from the political media was almost unanimously positive.
“Martha Raddatz is actually moderating,” wrote Taegan Goddard, the publisher of Political Wire.
“Kicking ass, Martha is,” wrote John Heilemann, the co-author of “Game Change.”
The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein called himself “a defender of Lehrer’s performance in the first debate” but said “Martha
Raddatz is doing a really excellent job here.”
“Martha Raddatz is no joke,” CNN’s Don Lemon tweeted. “Following up & in charge.”
I hope Raddatz took herself out for a beer or something afterward, because it’s a pretty sweet victory in the face of all the “Martha Raddatz is biased just like Gwen Ifill!” hullaballoo that preceded the debate. And like Ifill, Raddatz gave a totally fair performance that ought to quiet all the haters. Good for her.
[Photo via Politico]