As the host of CNN's State of the Union and the network's chief political correspondent, Candy Crowley has made a career of holding politicians accountable. In her decades of experience as a political reporter, Crowley has covered every president from Jimmy Carter to Barack Obama, but a new challenge awaits her this political season.
On October 16, Crowley will moderate the second presidential debate between Governor Mitt Romney and President Barack Obama. She is the first woman to serve as moderator since 1992, when Carole Simpson refereed between then-Governor Bill Clinton, Ross Perot, and President George Bush.
But Crowley says that, when asked to do the debate, she did not think of her gender as being particularly significant. "We all bring a prism to the table," she says. Crowley cites the fact that she is from the Midwest and the fact that she has a brother who fought in Vietnam as other factors that might affect the kind of questions she asks. Still, she says she understands better now why some women have been so thrilled to hear that the moderator of this debate would be female, and why three students in New Jersey petitioned to have female moderators this year. "Even if I ask the exact same questions — and I won't — that Bob Schieffer does or that Jim Lehrer does or, by the way, that Martha Raddatz does, the optics of having someone up there who is female matters. And I'm not sure I actually knew the extent of that before."
And speaking of the optics of television, it would be easy for Crowley to be intimidated. Crowley admits that she has had this fear, but the advice that she always gives to young people, she says, is this: "No matter what you choose to do, be so good they can't ignore you."