Monday, October 15, 2012

Second Look: Candy Crowley

Tomorrow night Candy Crowley will be the first female moderator of a presidential debate in 20 years. Let's hope she won't be remembered as just the “lady holding the microphone” the day after.  Candy was selected for the second debate which is a town hall meeting format (questions come from the audience and not the moderator), similar to Carole Simpson’s role in 1992 when Clinton, Bush and Perot were the candidates. Apparently, the Obama and Romney campaigns have set some strict terms for how active a participant the town hall moderator can be. Was a woman chosen to play this more limited role? 

While Candy’s selection was due in part to three teenage girls from Montclair, NJ petitioning the Commission on Presidential Debates to pick a female, it is safe to assume that her credentials had a lot to do with it also. She started her career as a freelance writer before becoming a radio journalist. After a short stint as a stay-at-home mom, she was rehired at AP radio to cover the White House before being discovered by NBC television. She’s been at CNN for the past 25 years currently serving as their network’s chief political correspondent and anchor of “State of the Union with Candy Crowley.”

This award winning journalist who has covered numerous major stories and interviewed countless politicians and celebrities has had the everyday challenges of balancing family and career too. Late-breaking stories and the campaign trail seldom kept her away from her sons’ football games. And now with her family on their own,  less travel and hosting her own TV show, Candy is making some personal changes with a trainer, a more nutritious diet and transcendental meditation. "I just wanted to be a better person. I wanted to feel better," she says. 

Candy has been cited for bringing real humanity and likeability to the political media stage. Yet she’s also known for being penetrating and tough in her less confrontational manner. Candy's always looking for the next question and doesn't like to go over "plowed ground".  So will we not see any of this Tuesday night during the next presidential debate? Candy was not part of any agreements between the two candidates, their parties and the Commission, which include that the moderator not ask her own questions. She will select the questions submitted by the audience members and their order and has said publicly she feels there will be opportunities for her to follow up. It appears we’ll have to pay as much attention to Candy’s performance and probing style as to that of the candidates themselves.  It should be an interesting and informative evening for all.

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