Vice President Joe Biden and vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan met at Centre College in Kentucky to debate the future of the country, showing voters an up close view of the candidates that spend much of their time in the background to the frontrunners on their tickets. When the dust settled the winner of the debate was clear — moderator Martha Raddatz.
The New York Times reports ABC News‘ Raddatz was a contrast to Jim Lehrer, who moderated the presidential debate between President Barack Obama and Republican nominee Mitt Romney. Lehrer let the candidates talk almost freely and often let them get away with vague answers. Raddatz did not.
From her very first question, Raddatz pulled no punches, starting with the assault on the Libyan embassy.
“It was a pre-planned assault by heavily armed men,” Raddatz said. “Wasn’t this a massive intelligence failure, Vice President Biden?”
Throughout the 90-minute contest, Politico notes, Raddatz pressed both candidates hard, cutting them off when she felt it was warranted, and allowing time for follow-up when need be. Politico highlighted a specific exchange with the vice president where Raddatz assertiveness came through after Biden called out Ryan on something he disagreed with.
“With all due respect, that’s a bunch of malarkey,” Biden said.
“And why is that so?” Raddatz asked.
“Because not a single thing he said is accurate. First of all …”
“Be specific,” Raddatz pressed.
Ryan wasn’t immune from her moderating ire either. When Ryan claimed that he and Romney could cut taxes while still having the desired effect on the deficit, he wasn’t keen enough for her liking on the details.
“No specifics, again,” she called.
The reaction on Twitter and in the media for Raddatz has been mostly positive, though not surprisingly some felt she was too harsh, with several conservative sources saying she was too easy on Biden.
“Martha Raddatz is no joke,” CNN’s Don Lemon tweeted. “Following up & in charge.”
Talking to Sean Hannity, Politico notes that Sarah Palin was less impressed.
“Really tough format, Sean, for someone like a Paul Ryan or anybody else up against Joe Biden, when the moderator allowed one candidate to absolutely run roughshod over the conversation,” she said.
Martha Raddatz is a Senior Foreign Affairs correspondent for ABC News, a post she’s held since 2008. Raddatz joined ABC in 1999.