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Axelrod: 'Enough Already About Moderators'

4:20 PM, Oct 15, 2012 • By DANIEL HALPER
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David Axelrod has a message for those worried about debate moderators:

Axelrod's statement comes as tomorrow night's moderator, CNN's Candy Crowley, comes under scrutiny.

As Mark Halperin reports

In a rare example of political unity, both the Romney and Obama campaigns have expressed concern to the Commission on Presidential Debates about how the moderator of this Tuesday’s town hall has publicly described her role, TIME has learned.

While an early-October memorandum of understanding between the Obama and Romney campaigns suggests that CNN’s Candy Crowley would play a limited role in the Tuesday-night session, Crowley, who is not a party to that agreement, has done a series of interviews on her network in which she has suggested that she will assume a broader set of responsibilities. As Crowley put it last week, “Once the table is kind of set by the town-hall questioner, there is then time for me to say, ‘Hey, wait a second, what about X, Y, Z?’”

In the view of the two campaigns and the commission, those and other recent comments by Crowley conflict with the language the campaigns agreed to, which delineates a more limited role for the debate moderator. The questioning of the two candidates is supposed to be driven by the audience members — likely voters selected by the Gallup Organization. Crowley’s assignment differs from those of the three other debate moderators, who in the more standard format are supposed to lead the questioning and follow up when appropriate. The town-hall debate is planned for Oct. 16 at 9 p.m. E.T. at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.

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