After two debates in which domestic concerns of particular interest to people of color were barely mentioned, moderator Candy Crowley of CNN said Tuesday night that she made a deliberate effort to raise such issues as gun control, immigration and long-term unemployment in that evening’s town hall presidential debate.
While the questions for President Obama and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney came mostly from an audience of 82 undecided voters, Crowley chose the questioners and knew what they planned to ask.
The makeup of that audience didn’t go unnoticed. The Rev. Al Sharpton observed in MSNBC’s post-debate commentary, “I’m amazed that in Nassau County,” N.Y., site of the Hofstra University debate, “only one African American could ask a question. . . . Two Latinos was not a diverse audience.”
But Crowley said later on CNN that in selecting the questioners, she wanted “to make sure that we had some variety in; we didn’t want all white guys or all white women. . .
“We wanted to cover subjects that maybe folks hadn’t heard about but still were interested in and I think — ,” Crowley said.
“Immigration, gun control, and women’s issues,” CNN’s Soledad O’Brien interjected in the post-debate interview.
“Gun control and immigration and women’s issues were the three big ones,” Crowley continued.
“Climate change, I had that question. All you climate change people. We just ‹ you know, again, we knew that the economy was still the main thing, so you knew you kind of wanted to go with the economy, maybe the gas prices again was something that hadn’t come up. So that was part of it. Part of it was kind of a variety of questions that were important but had not yet been kind of fully aired at least in this large of a forum.