Hosting the second GOP debate is big news for CNN, which has reportedly bumped up its advertising rates by 4,000 percent in advance of an expected ratings bounce. In an attempt to boost ratings even further, CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper told The New York Times that he wants to incite the candidates to fight with each other, rather than simply answer his questions.
In the weeks since the first GOP debate, the Republican presidential hopefuls haven’t exactly gone easy on each other. Bobby Jindal famously called out Donald Trump as a, “dangerous madman,” Trump insulted Carly Fiorina’s physical appearance, and even Dr. Ben Carson got in on the action when he questioned Trump’s faith.
Donald Trump may be the common thread in many of the altercations between various candidates, but CNN debate moderator Jake Tapper wants to see a free for all.
“My goal is more about: Let’s draw the contrasts between the candidates, and have them fight it out over these policies,” Tapper told The New York Times. “Have them lay it all out so voters can see it.”
The emphasis on candidate interaction, and conflict, is a stark contrast to the first GOP debate, which aired on Fox News. That debate, reports The New York Times, focused mainly on the moderators asking tough questions and forcing each candidate to outline their positions.
Jake Tapper told The New York Times that his favorite moment of the debate came when Senator Rand Paul and Governor Chris Christie clashed over the issue of bulk data collection by the NSA. Tapper said the interaction was, “electric” and “illuminating,” and that he wants to incite that type of confrontation when he moderates the CNN debate.
Tapper also discussed his plans for the debate with Jimmy Kimmel on Jimmy Kimmel Live!
“Is that the key to a question, that you want it to elicit some response between them?” Kimmel asked.
“Yeah, I think so,” Tapper replied. The CNN debate moderator went on to elaborate on the interaction between Christie and Paul at the first debate. “I saw that, and I’m like, that’s what I want. Like a lot of those moments, where I’m not really playing, but they’re debating the issues that are important.”
“We want to see wrestling,” Kimmel said. “We want to see fighting. Would you consider it a tremendous success if one candidate were to punch another candidate tomorrow night?”
Tapper laughed before answering that, no, he doesn’t want to incite a physical altercation. “No I would not. But I would love them to really fight about these issues. Because they’re not running for prom king, this is about who is going to control the nuclear weapons.”
Do you think it’s appropriate for the CNN debate moderator to deliberately bait candidates into fighting?
[Photo by Tom Pennington / Getty Images News]