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Obama, Romney register complaint against moderator's role

india Updated: Oct 18, 2012 15:59 IST

In a rare display of bipartisanship, both Obama and Romney campaigns have complained to the Commission on Presidential Debates about the moderator of the second presidential debate for publicly describing its role.

Cindy Crowley, a top CNN journalist, who is supposed to moderate the town-hall debate has publicly announced that she plans to follow up on the questions asked by the audiences.

The second of the three presidential debates is scheduled for Tuesday in New York during which members of the audience would be asking the questions unlike the previous debate wherein it was the moderator who asked the questions.

Crowley, who have covered the elections for over two decades, is the first women to be moderating a presidential debate since ABC’s Carole Simpson in 1992.

The Time magazine on Monday reported that both the Romney and Obama campaigns have expressed concern to the Commission about how the moderator of the town hall debate has publicly described her role.

"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 (the follow-up questions)?," Crowley had said last week, provoking the two campaigns to write to the Commission.

The Commission on Presidential Debate clarified that it does not want the moderator to re-interpret questions from the audience.

"Our only issue is that the citizen questioners get their chance to pose the question without reinterpretation from the moderator," CPD co-chairman Mike McCurry told TechPresident's Micah Sifry.

Appearing on her own news channel later in the day, Crowley said she will ask follow-up questions during today's debate. This would be just like how other moderators asked during previous town halls.

"There will be questioners to the right and left of me and in front of the candidates, and they will have the questions. And as was the case in the Charlie Gibson town-hall meeting and the Tom Brokaw town-hall meeting in presidential campaigns past, there was a time after that for follow-up and for furthering the discussion," Crowley told the CNN.