Chief Global Affairs Correspondent for ABC News Martha Raddatz joined fellow 2012 presidential debate moderators Jim Lehrer and Bob Schieffer at Washington D.C.’s National Press Club. The trio discussed their experiences as debate moderators during the last presidential campaign to panel moderator Marvin Kalb.
When asked by Kalb if she felt rattled by Twitter criticism of her performance, she said:
Twitter, as much as you might want to fight it, Marvin, it’s out there. There are voices out there that have influence. There are. I think for we as journalists, it’s a great journalistic tool. It is. You can find all sorts of stories.
I had some strange press the day before that for about fifteen minutes rattled me. It did not affect me as a moderator. It affected me as a mom. My son’s on Twitter all the time. It’s the only way we can communicate. If he’s in the bedroom, it’s like, ‘Are you coming to dinner?’ And I tweet it. But I was worried, because there was such nasty stuff. And then my son was like, ‘Mom, do people..?’ I said, ‘You know there are some crazy people who write really mean things and don’t worry about them.’ She added that she she told him, ‘These people have three followers. Quit answering them. They all live in basements with 75 cats.’
Raddatz was asked later by Breitbart News during the Q & A, “You seemed to have gotten a lot of criticism during the vice presidential debate, allowing Joe Biden to just run all over you–the constant laughing, the interrupting of Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI), particularly when he was talking about an armed Iran or green energy. How can you say you had any control over that debate whatsoever?”
Listen, I want to answer you fairly. I really do. You’re up there and you’re as fair as you can possibly be. I think that when we came out of that debate, Joe Biden had 45 seconds more than Congressman Ryan. I think Congressman Ryan felt it was fair. And that’s what I can say. I think Congressman Ryan afterwards could not have been nicer. Both of them were. And both of them thought it was fair.
However, Michael Steel, Paul Ryan’s Vice Presidential spokesman, told the Daily Caller after the debate that Raddatz did not moderate debate fairly at all. :
“I thought she obviously asserted herself more than [Jim] Lehrer did,” Steel said, referencing the moderator of the first presidential debate last week, according to Politico. “[B]ut there was still a great deal of crosstalk, there was still a great deal of difficulty making points in a reasonable and progressive fashion.”
Marvin Kalb began making a tweeting sound after Breitbart News asked her the question, referencing Raddatz’s previous remarks about criticisms she received on Twitter. However, Raddatz, did not just receive criticism for her debate moderator performance from people with 75 cats who live in basements and have three Twitter followers.
A number of right-of-center journalists were critical of her as well. The Washington Examiner‘s David Freddoso wrote, “Ryan is outnumbered here. It’s two against one.” National Review’s Katrina Trinko remarked, “Raddatz is totally being walked all over by Biden. She’s letting him get by with murder in time of talking.” Phil Klein, who works for the Washington Examiner, said, “Every time Biden starts interrupting Ryan, Martha Raddatz cuts Ryan off.” Fox News Contributor and Radio’s Laura Ingraham asked, “Why does Raddatz want to ‘move on’ when Ryan is getting traction?”
Finally, Fox News contributor Charles Krauthammer said of Raddatz, “I pay good money to see a fight, not the referee.”