When Did Debate Moderators Become More Important Than Those Debating?

I think the nation is past the need for Presidential election debates. And I KNOW the country is past the need for the partisan moderators we have seen grill candidates in at least the past three presidential elections. Chris Wallace, who is supposedly and middle-of-the-road, hosts a Sunday morning talk show at FOX News. He reportedly is a Moderate. But in his turn on the Moderator microphone, Wallace became a debater instead, joining Joe Biden to pile-on Donald Trump.

As everyone knows, the Debate Commission at the last moment changed the scheduled second debate format from in-person to virtual. Their stated reason for the change was for the personal safety of the workers, media pundits, and the debaters themselves since President Trump was just completing a personal tangle with COVID-19. The Trump Campaign went bonkers, and the President immediately determined to NOT participate in a virtual debate. It was canceled.

All eyes turn to NBC News White House correspondent Kristen Welker as she prepares to host the third and final presidential debate tonight.

President Trump and Joe Biden will square off at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, in a 90-minute debate starting at 9 p.m Eastern. Welker, 44, has been the White House correspondent at NBC News since 2011, after working as a news reporter in Rhode Island. But Trump supporters who took issue with stern questioning by previous moderators like Chris Wallace and Savannah Guthrie may find themselves wishing for those combative hosts after Welker is done with the president.

Welker comes from an established Democratic family — who have poured cash into party coffers, and to Trump opponents, for years. Her mother, Julie Welker, a prominent real estate broker in Philadelphia, and father, Harvey Welker, a consulting engineer, have donated tens of thousands of dollars to Democratic candidates and close to $20,000 to Barack Obama alone. There was also $3,300 for Joe Biden’s 2020 campaign and $2,100 for Hillary Clinton’s doomed 2016 presidential effort against Trump. Another $7,300 was contributed to the Democratic National Committee between 2004 and 2020.

Though Kristen Welker’s party registration is not listed today, she was a registered Democrat in Washington, DC, in 2012 and Rhode Island in 2004.

Throughout Welker’s tenure as a White House correspondent, she has earned a reputation for a scathing style of questioning. “Mr. President, yes or no: Have you ever worked for Russia. Yes or no?” she demanded during a confrontation in January 2019. The treatment stands in stark contrast to her handling of Democratic politicos. In March 2016, Welker was busted on live television tipping off Hillary Clinton’s Communications Director Jennifer Palmieri about at least one question she planned to ask her during a post-debate interview in Michigan. At the time, Clinton was locked in a fierce fight for the Democratic nomination against Sen. Bernie Sanders. “I’m going to ask you about Flint,” Welker said of the Michigan city’s infamous water crisis.

Welker deleted her Twitter account last week, heading off a complete look at her past statements and views. It was later restored. “Anyone who’s ever dealt with Welker knows she’s an activist, not a reporter. The White House press team views her the same way they would AOC or Pelosi if they walked in the office,” a senior White House official said.

Tonight’s Debate: All-In

“She’s always been terrible & unfair, just like most of the Fake News reporters, but I’ll still play the game,” President Trump tweeted about the Moderator. “The people know!”

Tonight’s debate is crucial for the President, who refused to participate in an Oct. 15 showdown with Biden because organizers wanted a virtual debate in light of the president’s COVID-19 diagnosis. He enters the debate trailing Biden in preelection polls nationally, and in key states though the Biden lead has almost vanished. This will likely be the last chance for both candidates to reach a vast audience before Election Day on Nov. 3.

Welker hasn’t commented, but plenty of colleagues and competitors testified to her fairness and professionalism. They said she would do great when moderating Thursday’s showdown between Trump and Democrat Joe Biden. “Kristen is one of the toughest, fairest reporters you’ll ever meet,” tweeted Kathryn Watson, a White House reporter for CBS News.

Despite his recent attacks, many people have praised Welker’s reporting during the Trump administration – including Trump himself. After the second debate was canceled this month, Trump campaign adviser Jason Miller told Fox News Welker would do an “excellent job” hosting the third one. “I have a very high opinion of Kristen Welker,” Miller said. “I think she’s going to do an excellent job as the moderator for the third debate. I think she’s a journalist who’s very fair in her approach, and I think that she’ll be an excellent choice for this third debate.”

Calling on Welker during a news conference in Switzerland in January, Trump complimented her for landing a weekend anchor gig on NBC’s “Today” show. “They made a very wise decision,” Trump told Welker.

Summary

The daily IBD/TIPP polls have each day this week indicated the Biden lead that was once in double-digits has not just slipped but plummeted to its lowest numbers. Why is that? In part because of the feeling many Americans have after the revelation of the alleged wrongdoing by BOTH the Vice President’s son, Hunter Biden, and by the former VP himself. That Hunter MacBook Pro left at a Delaware computer shop for repairs contains tens of thousands of damning texts, emails, and even pictures. The pictures are said to contain those of Hunter doing illegal drugs while having sex. The pictures include at least one underage girl.

How does this impact Joe Biden? The emails and texts contain details of meetings, emails to and between Hunter and corporate leaders at companies in Ukraine, China, and even Khazakstan that detail massive financial transactions between those foreign corporations and several American entities with which Hunter Biden is an official. Several of the emails and texts implicate Joe Biden for receiving large sums of money as part of these transactions.

Debate Prediction:

If President Trump refuses to fall into the personal trap in which he found himself in the first debate, if he addresses specific Joe Biden political actions from his past, many of which were controversial and very damaging for U.S. minorities along with Biden/Harris suspect plans in a Biden/Harris Administration, he should do well. However, he MUST keep from going-off on Biden in personal ways and stick to policies.

But there’s one sure thing that will just give him a three-count at the ending bell: he MUST bring the Hunter Biden/Biden Family Corruption case into the debate conversation using just the facts and get Joe — without badgering him — to respond on the merits of the case. Remember: no one from the Biden Campaign or any Biden family member or even Joe himself has claimed that the emails, texts, or pictures are not real or labeling them as “fake.”

Being calm, civil, and appearing not to be angry will be a tall order for the President. Though I am confident those around him have given such advice ahead of the showdown tonight, it remains to be seen if President Trump will set aside his disgust for all of the one-sided attacks on him and his administration and just address specifics during the debate. If he can do those things and refuses to hit below the belt, I think Joe will hit the mat at the end of the show!


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