It became clear that Candy Crowley didn’t really have control of tonight’s town hall debate about two-thirds of the way through when President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney bickered about the size of each other’s pensions to prove a point about knowledge of their own investments.
While that exchange ended with Crowley asking Romney to sit down — after the President wondered aloud whether they were still talking about immigration — several others meandered on with the moderator steering the conversation in any way.
After Martha Raddatz decisively controlled the Vice Presidential debate last week, it took nearly half of tonight’s Presidential debate for moderator Candy Crowley to even try to rein in the candidates.
Throughout the debate, Crowley allowed the candidates to exceed their time and then often failed to cut them off — until about halfway through the debate when she stopped Romney from repeating his thoughts on the deficit.
“I understand the stakes here,” Crowley said, attempting to cut the Governor off for a second time. “I understand both of you. But I will get run out of town if I don't [move the debate along].”
Crowley allowed Governor Mitt Romney to strongly direct the debate, as he interrupted both her and President Barack Obama in making points either to elaborate on his own comments or to rebut Obama.
Obama was cut off later in the debate — “Mr. President, thank you,” Crowley said, stopping his long answer to a question about job creation — as she sought to give Romney a chance to rebut his answer.
Crowley, who maintains an even keel and steady voice, even in contentious interviews on CNN, allowed the town hall-style debate between President Barack Obama and Governor Mitt Romney to frequently fly out of control.
“We’ve got to move on,” was Crowley’s mantra for the second half of the debate, as the candidates topic-hopped within answers to questions asked by members of the town hall audience.
Toward the end of the debate, she became more forceful with that line but by then, it was too late, as both Romney and Obama had taken to steamrolling her when they had something to say.
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