The second presidential debate Sunday, October 9 was one of the most unorthodox in history, not only because of its intense mudslinging, but because there seemed to be a third party present in the room (no, not Gary Johnson).
While debates tend not to sway that many voters — with supporters from both sides of the aisle somehow declaring different winners after having watched the same event — what made the debate so fascinating was the role that the moderators played.
Moderators Anderson Cooper and Martha Raddatz took their jobs as moderators seriously, if not, some critics have claimed, a little too much so — not only cutting off the candidates right on the two-minute mark, but also demanding that they answer the question when responses were less than satisfactory.
In many ways, the debate offered the shocking content that people were expecting. Trump interrupted everyone, Clinton smiled, stayed composed and on-topic, if not a little boring. But who expected the moderators to play such a big hand in the momentum of the debate? It was the exact opposite of the performance of Lester Holt, the moderator of the first debate from NBC Nightly News.
Why is Raddatz debating trump?
Isnt that hillarys job?
— Newt Gingrich (@newtgingrich) October 10, 2016
Trump is trying to engage Martha Raddatz in discussions of the Middle East. The woman has flown in 90 times. During both war & peace.
— Josh Murray (@joshjmurray) October 10, 2016
During the second question, Cooper asked Trump four follow-up questions related to the recording recently released on which Trump is heard describing how he sexually assaults women.
“That set the tone for the evening and it wasn’t a neutral one,” FOX News wrote. “The interruptions were bad. The outright speaking for Clinton was worse.”
Martha Raddatz has to explain to Trump that we warn civilians before attacking city so they can evacuate
— Ben Adler (@badler) October 10, 2016
Later, Trump discussed his plan to ban Muslims from entering the country — a policy he has recently rolled back on, saying last night that it “morphed into an extreme vetting.”
When Trump said his proposed ban on Muslims had “morphed into an extreme vetting.”
“And why did it morph into that?” Raddatz interrupted.
“Excuse me. Excuse me,” Trump responded.
“No,” Raddatz, “answer the question.”
At one point, Trump said the debate was “three on one.” He claimed at several moments that Clinton had gone over her time, though Forbes reported that he spoke 40 minutes, 10 seconds compared to Clinton’s 39 minutes and 5 seconds.
Martha Raddatz, who has covered many a war, is trying to explain defense strategy to Trump in a question…
— Christine Spolar (@christinespolar) October 10, 2016
Trump wasn’t happy, either, that the moderators interrupted him so much, (though they usually interrupted him for having interrupted Clinton, or for saying something that had been fact-checked countless times and arguably had no value at the debate).
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“Allow her to respond please,” Cooper said at one point. “Please allow her to respond. She didn’t talk when you talked.”
All in all, the moderators interrupted 41 times both Trump and Clinton.