The highly-anticipated second debate between Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney and President Obama will be taking place this week at Hofstra University. The event has already generated controversy regarding the role of the moderator, CNN’s Candy Crowley, and the manner in which she will be handling follow-up questions during the town hall style debate.
While a copy of the contract establishing the rules of the event was released this week by Time’s Mark Halperin, an even more recent draft, which includes additional stipulations and restrictions on the moderator’s ability to govern the debate has been obtained by the Free Wood Post.
This document contains a list of questions that Crowley has been “cleared” to ask the presidential candidates, some of which have apparently been crossed out in this version. An excerpt is below.
Approved Questions the Moderator May Ask the Candidates:
-Can I make you boys a sandwich?
-Would you like that on white, whole wheat or rye bread?
-Did you want lemonade or iced tea with your sandwiches?
-Would you like a slice of lemon in your drink?
-Why or why not?
-How great is the weather today? I mean wow!
-Do you think I should be paid equally to Jim Lehrer?
Many in the Republican Party have applauded the journalistic integrity of the hard-hitting questions Crowley has been permitted to ask, noting that she is being encouraged to engage the candidates on issues that are of importance to women—particularly sandwiches and the preparation thereof.
However, other political analysts are concerned that unless she is given further restrictions with regard to appropriate question topics, Ms. Crowley is likely to use her position as a debate moderator to pressure the candidates into discussing issues that they are not prepared or interested in debating in front of the American people. To that end, some have suggested that her questions and follow-ups be pre-taped and pre-screened by the candidates to prevent them from having to deviate from scripted answers they may have already spent time preparing.
Whether this advice has been taken remains to be seen.