ABC News' Martha Raddatz Wins Praise as Veep Debate Moderator

The Hollywood Reporter
Moderator Martha Raddatz on the Debate: 'You Try to React to What They're Saying'
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Moderator Martha Raddatz on the Debate: 'You Try to React to What They're Saying'

Martha Raddatz has spent years questioning politicians and bureaucrats -- first as the Pentagon reporter for National Public Radio and then as a correspondent for ABC News.

And when she wasn't running around Washington, she was digging up stories in war zones -- in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq.

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On Thursday night, in her role as moderator over the vice presidential debate between Joe Biden and Paul Ryan, Raddatz put her many skills to work to keep the dialogue moving briskly and the forum firmly under control.

When Biden and Ryan started to talk over each other, she interrupted. "I think we've gone over this quite enough," she admonished before moving on to another sharply framed question.

Pundits praised her for being a vast improvement over former PBS news anchor Jim Lehrer, who let the Oct. 7 presidential debate spin out of control.

"Martha Raddatz of ABC News didn’t ask puffy questions like Jim Lehrer did at the presidential debate, or let the candidates get away with vague non-answers, as Jim Lehrer did," observed Andrew Rosenthal at The New York Times. "Ms. Raddatz acted like a working journalist instead of a television personality."

Raddatz got her start in journalism in 1993 at NPR, where she reported on foreign policy, defense and intelligence issues. (She also managed to make a number of trips to Eastern Europe to cover the war in Bosnia.)

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She joined ABC in 1999, alternately working in Washington and traveling oversees.

In 2006, she was the first correspondent in Iraq to report that al Qaeda's Abu Musab al-Zarqawi had been killed in a U.S. air strike north of Baghdad. In 2011 she reported exclusive details on the raid that killed Osama Bin Laden. In between, she served as the network's White House correspondent, covering George W. Bush's second term in office.

Although Raddatz's record as a network star reporter was never in dispute, some questioned the Commission on Presidential Debates' decision to make her a moderator.

Breibart News Editor-at-Large John Nolte expressed his disappointment in Raddatz's performance Thursday night on Twitter: "Horrible Moderator: Martha Raddatz Interrupts Ryan Constantly, Asks Stupid Questions."

And he wasn't the only one raising questions. Earlier in the day, The Daily Caller, conservative Tucker Carlson's web outlet, pointed out that in 1991, Raddatz's wedding to Harvard Law student Julius Genachowski was attended by one Barack Obama, her new husband's classmate and fellow member of the Harvard Law Review.

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ABC News immediately slammed accusations of Raddatz's liberal bias as "absurd."

"Martha Raddatz is known for her tough, fair reporting, which is why it was no surprise to her colleagues inside and outside ABC News that she was chosen by the Commission on Presidential Debates for this assignment," the network said in a prepared statement.

After the debate, there was nothing but praise from the Obama camp. Actress Eva Longoria, who has been campaigning around the country for the president, took to Twitter to voice her approval: "Best moderator ever!!!"

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