POLITICS

Axelrod: Leave Candy Crowley alone

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Politics,Beltway Confidential,Joel Gehrke

Obama campaign strategist David Axelrod wants people to stop talking about CNN’s Candy Crowley, who is moderating tomorrow’s presidential debate between President Obama and Mitt Romney.

“Enough already about moderators,” Axelrod tweeted. “POTUS is ready for a vigorous debate and [questions] from all comers!”

The Obama campaign blamed Jim Lehrer for Mitt Romney’s clear debate victory last week. “I sometimes wondered if we even needed a moderator because we had Mitt Romney,” deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter said after the debate. In an email to Politico after the debate, she backed off that criticism, saying that “Jim Lehrer absolutely did his job as a moderator, as only Jim Lehrer can do.”

Crowley has indicated that she will not be as passive as Lehrer was. “I’m not a fly on the wall,” Crowley said in a Politico interview. “We don’t want the candidates to spout talking points. That doesn’t help voters … I’m going to react organically to what’s happening.”

Lehrer, for his part, thought the debate went well. “I thought the format accomplished its purpose, which was to facilitate direct, extended exchanges between the candidates about issues of substance,” Lehrer told Politico. “Part of my moderator mission was to stay out of the way of the flow and I had no problems with doing so.”
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