The Slatest

Not Everyone Loved Martha Raddatz’s Turn as Debate Moderator

Martha Raddatz listens during the vice presidential debate at Centre College on Thursday

Photo by Michael Reynolds-Pool/Getty Images.

Unlike last week when Jim Lehrer’s latest performance as debate moderator was widely panned before President Obama and Mitt Romney had even left the stage, ABC News reporter Martha Raddatz’s turn in the center seat was greeted with near universal praise. We say near because this is the Internet. A sampling of the Raddatz’s detractors.

Fox News’ Dan Gainor:

“The 2012 vice presidential debate was sometimes a 2-on-1 fight, with Biden and moderator Martha Raddatz both interrupting Republican vice presidential nominee Paul Ryan repeatedly. … Raddatz took a liberal tack on abortion and let Biden control the debate tone by never shutting up. …


“Raddatz’s passive tolerance of Biden’s massive number of interruptions was enhanced by her own periodic interruptions of Ryan. … [Her performance] was far from excellent. When Ryan pushed the point about useless government pork spent on green jobs, Raddatz interrupted him just as he was asking Biden about the alleged 5 million green jobs the administration had vowed to create.”


Sean Hannity, via Twitter:

“Martha Raddatz is the worst moderator. Maybe next time@PaulRyanVP should invite her to his wedding #VPDebate”

Bloomberg View’s Josh Barro:

“I actually thought the worst performer on the stage was moderator Martha Raddatz of ABC News. I’m against the consensus of my Twitter feed on this, and I’m sure I’ll get letters, but I thought her topic selection was terrible and led to a debate that was much less useful than it could have been.


“Raddatz asked a lot of foreign policy questions, which was fine, but Libya, Afghanistan, Iranand Syria each got their own question, with no discussion of China, Latin America or Europe. It was like a bad replay of 2004, when we acted like the Middle East was the only part of the world that mattered.”

It’s worth pointing out that in the lead-up to Thursday’s VP debate in Kentucky, a smattering of conservative talking heads took issue with Raddatz’s ability to stay neutral during the debate because Obama attended her wedding in 1991. (The president is a former Harvard law school classmate of Julius Genachowski, who Raddatz married and later divorced.) But, in general, as Politico noted, most prominent conservative commentators largely dismissed the story.

At least in the immediate aftermath of Thursday’s debate, it appeared as though most on the right—including those in in the spin room in Danville—were likewise focusing their attention on their man’s opponent on stage, and not the reporter asking the questions.