The commission members “want this to be a town hall meeting,” she says. “They want the undecided voters to get a chance to ask these candidates their questions. ... I can follow up or say, ‘They asked oranges; you answered apples. Could you, like, try to answer oranges?’ You know, sort of the enforcer kind of thing.”
What about letting the candidates ignore time limits and other rules the way Lehrer did?“What I think Jim was talking about was trying to get them to engage with each other and not with him. … When the conversation’s going, you can’t just stop it, and go, ‘Whoops, sorry, bell rang.’ It’s not school.”
And if Obama or Romney is flatout lying?
“Look, these are two grown men,” Crowley says. “And if there are two grown men who should know what’s going on — or what should go on in this country — it’s them. So, I’m not sure either one of them needs me to defend them or go after the other guy or whatever.”
Crowley says such TV debates, like interviews on her Sunday morning show, “tend to be organic,” and you can’t predict or anticipate all that will happen — especially when it comes to live TV.
“Am I going to catch everything they say that is wrong?” she asks rhetorically. “No. Should I? Actually, I think, President Obama can figure out when Mitt Romney’s wrong, and Mitt Romney can figure out when Obama’s wrong.”
But, she adds, “That doesn’t mean I shouldn’t. I’m just telling you it’s an organic thing. That’s the way it works on the Sunday show. ... You plan one thing, and something else happens. So, there’s not a lot of promising you can do about what’s going to happen until you see what happens.”
The second presidential debate is scheduled for 9 p.m. Tuesday at Hofstra University in Hempstead, N.Y.