Debates

By Matt Hadro | October 16, 2012 | 6:23 PM EDT

Former debate moderator (and liberal journalist) Carole Simpson has been making the media rounds before Tuesday's presidential debate, giving President Obama the edge and implying that the standards for debate moderators are sexist. She continued that on Tuesday's Starting Point.

She gave Obama the town hall-style debate advantage as a  "people person" and "touchy-feely." In contrast, she cited criticism of Romney "that he doesn't relate to ordinary people."

By Noel Sheppard | October 16, 2012 | 5:53 PM EDT

MSNBC's Chris Matthews on Tuesday made a rather startling prediction about viewers of the upcoming presidential debate.

"If it looks like [Obama's] getting beaten again, they’re going back to the fourth inning" of the Yankees-Tigers American League Championship game (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Matt Hadro | October 16, 2012 | 5:32 PM EDT

CNN's Anderson Cooper cited the liberal Tax Policy Center debunking Mitt Romney's tax plan on Monday, without noting that one of the authors admitted the plan could still work with different assumptions. He waited until the end of his report to admit that the studies in question were "making assumptions."

"[A] bipartisan panel of three authors for the Tax Policy Center examined the plan and concluded that there's really no way of making the numbers work, that is, unless the middle class pays more," Cooper reported on the night before Tuesday's presidential debate. That is misleading, since the study admitted reliance on "certain assumptions" and one of its authors said the plan could work. The TPC report was released in August.

By Kyle Drennen | October 16, 2012 | 5:13 PM EDT

In a fawning softball interview with First Lady Michelle Obama on Tuesday's NBC Today, special correspondent Ryan Seacrest was eager to know how she helps the President during debates: "What did you say to him when the two of you walked backstage after the first debate?...Have you spoken to him about the prep?...does he make eye contact with you? Does he look at you for encouragement?"

The First Lady explained: "I'm perched. I'm looking at him. I'm smiling. I'm giving a thumbs up if he can see it....I assume that he can, so I make sure that I'm always giving him that positive love."

By Kyle Drennen | October 16, 2012 | 2:40 PM EDT

On Tuesday's NBC Today, during a panel discussion previewing the second presidential debate, co-host Matt Lauer mandated that Mitt Romney answer charges that he's moderated his positions: "How does Mitt Romney answer that question tonight of, 'Why have you moved to the middle, have become more moderate in these closing weeks?'"

Former McCain campaign advisor Steve Schmidt rejected Lauer's assertion: "I don't think he has to answer that question." Lauer immediately interrupted: "What if he's asked that question?" Former Democratic governor of Michigan Jennifer Granholm joined Lauer in ganging up on Schmidt: "Oh, I think he does. He absolutely does."

By Clay Waters | October 16, 2012 | 12:00 PM EDT

The New York Times Sunday Styles profile by Amy Chozick of Obama campaign manager Stephanie Cutter, "A Messenger Who Does the Shooting," reads as a bit behind on current events (many Sunday profile-type pieces are written several days in advance).

It comes off like a snapshot from before Cutter shamelessly politicized the Libya attack last Thursday by suggesting the only reason anyone cared about Benghazi was the Romney-Ryan campaign. And Chozick must have written the profile during that extremely brief time when the Cutter-inspired emphasis on Big Bird seemed hip and clever, not desperate and out of touch.

By Noel Sheppard | October 16, 2012 | 10:16 AM EDT

Conservative radio host Laura Ingraham doesn't think the liberal media's bar is very high for Barack Obama to get wildly favorable reviews after Tuesday's upcoming presidential debate with Mitt Romney.

Appearing on Fox & Friends early Tuesday morning, Ingraham said, "He can sit there playing Angry Birds on his iPhone and I think they’ll go, 'Oh wow, masterful performance'" (video follows with transcript and commentary):

By Rich Noyes | October 16, 2012 | 8:14 AM EDT

Tonight’s town hall-style presidential debate will ostensibly feature questions from undecided voters, but the evening’s agenda will really be decided by the moderator, as CNN’s Candy Crowley will select which of the more than roughly 80 voters in the room will actually get a chance to talk to the candidates.

Reviewing the five previous town hall debates, the journalist-moderators have tended to skew the agenda of these so-called citizen forums to the liberal side of the spectrum, but not always. Overall, questions have been twice as likely to favor liberal causes versus conservative ones.

By Tim Graham | October 15, 2012 | 5:45 PM EDT

Of the four liberal-media moderators selected by both parties at the Commission for Presidential Debates, CNN's Candy Crowley is the fairest. She's a longtime political-news pro, but that doesn't mean that in her long tenure at CNN, she doesn't have a "paper trail" (video trail) of liberal bias.

On Fox News this afternoon, James Pinkerton cited MRC’s research [see below] and said “I think things look pretty good for Obama.” Alan Colmes shot back, “Didn't the New York Times profile yesterday show that Candy Crowley was likely a Republican and worked for Dole or something? Colmes was oh, so wrong.

By Matt Hadro | October 15, 2012 | 5:40 PM EDT

Liberal journalist Carole Simpson is at it again. The former debate moderator returned to CNN and cast doubt on Mitt Romney's expectations while building up President Obama's, on Monday.

"I would have to say he [Obama] would have the edge in this debate," she mused. "One of Mitt Romney's problems throughout the campaign season has been does he relate to ordinary people?" she asked before adding "I'm not sure he can."

By Kyle Drennen | October 15, 2012 | 3:09 PM EDT

On Monday's NBC Today, political director Chuck Todd analyzed the state of the presidential race following a series of new national polls showing a slight Romney lead: "Well, look, the first debate really did sort of shift things....the numbers I've seen, and in talking to both campaigns, something shifted fundamentally."

However, only four days earlier, on Thursday's Today, Todd argued the debate was "not as helpful to Romney as he might have hoped," leading co-host Savannah Guthrie to conclude: "Alright, so the debate had maybe not as much of an impact." That was as the ABC and CBS morning shows highlighted Romney's clear momentum.

By Noel Sheppard | October 15, 2012 | 11:02 AM EDT

CNN’s Soledad O’Brien just can’t stop herself from appearing like she works for the White House rather than the supposedly most trusted name in news.

This was so apparent on Monday’s Starting Point that guest Rudy Giuliani, the former mayor of New York City, asked her, “Am I debating with the President's campaign?” (video follows with transcribed highlights and commentary):