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Monday, October 6, 2008

Ifill: Palin "Blew me off"

From Politico:

MR. BROKAW: There you go. When she said—and you asked her a question and she completely ignored it...

MS. IFILL: More than ignored it.

MR. BROKAW: More than ignored it and said, you know...

MS. IFILL: She blew me off, I think, is the technical term.

MR. BROKAW: ...”I’m just going to talk directly to the American people.”

MS. IFILL: Yeah.

MR. BROKAW: Tell us about what happened beforehand about what the rules were and what the understanding you thought you had with the candidates who would be onstage.

MS. IFILL: The understanding was that we were going to have a debate. And one of the interesting things about debates that people forget, especially with this one, there was so much obsession about Sarah Palin, is that there are two people on the stage. And their job—and you—you’ll—you know this, you’re doing this Tuesday night—are to debate each other. The moderator’s job is to control their debate. If they have decided, as Joe Biden decided that he was going to debate John McCain, and she decided she was going to give a stump speech to the American people, there’s very little a moderator can do other than say, “No, no, no, listen, I asked a question. Please, please answer.” So, so I just—I knew going in that they all had their goals for that debate. I was taken, going in, it could now be said, by how many of the questions that people volunteered to me were all about her. There was 99 percent, I would say, was all about her. Ninety-nine percent of the analyses afterwards were about her. It was if Joe Biden wasn’t part of this deal. And if she wasn’t challenged on the things she said that were not completely correct, or she wasn’t challenged on changing the subject and then answering the questions by her competitor, I had another job to do at the table.

So, I, I—you know, they both came out there with their jobs to do. Many of the American people who are not as obsessed by the idea of Sarah Palin on the stage by herself, as a lot of us were, looked at that and thought, “Let’s weigh these two,” which is what you do in debates.

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