Will CNN Treat the Democrats the Same Way They Treated GOP?

If CNN wants to be balanced in how it moderates the upcoming Democratic debate on Tuesday, it will ask questions that prompt the candidates on stage to fight with one another, because that’s exactly how they handled the GOP debate back on September 16.

Of the 74 total questions asked by CNN’s debate moderators at the GOP debate, 55 of them (74 percent) were framed to get Republican candidates to criticize each other’s positions and even personal traits.

So, if Tuesday night’s lead moderator Anderson Cooper is following Jake Tapper’s GOP debate model, viewers should expect questions designed to get Bernie Sanders to fight with Hillary Clinton like asking the anti-corporatist Sanders’ view on money being funneled to the Clinton Foundation from foreign companies while Hillary was still Secretary of State? Cooper, if he were following Tapper’s lead, could also ask more personal questions, such as asking Martin O’Malley if he thinks Hillary Clinton’s high untrustworthy numbers in polls disqualifies her to be the nominee.

However, Cooper has indicated he will not conduct the Democratic debate in the same way, as he told CNN's Brian Stelter on the October 11 edition of Reliable Sources: “I don’t think this is a debate where you’ll have candidates attack each other. We’ve not seen this on the campaign trail.” When Stelter asked: “So you’re saying trying to set them up for a faceoff isn’t something that’s probably going to work?” Cooper responded:  I don’t think so. First of all, I’m always uncomfortable with that notion of setting people up in order to kind of promote some sort of a faceoff. I think these are all serious people. This is a serious debate. They want to talk about the issues. And I want to give them an opportunity to do that.”

At the last GOP debate, Tapper’s very first question goaded Carly Fiorina to hash it out with Donald Trump: “Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, has suggested that your party’s frontrunner, Mr. Donald Trump, would be dangerous as President. He said he wouldn’t want, quote, ‘such a hot head with his finger on the nuclear codes.’ You, as well, have raised concerns about Mr. Trump’s temperament. You’ve dismissed him as an entertainer. Would you feel comfortable with Donald Trump’s finger on the nuclear codes?”

That was just the first of 55 “food fight” questions that Tapper and the other moderators (CNN’s Dana Bash and radio talk show host Hugh Hewitt) asked the Republican presidential candidates at the September 16 primetime GOP debate.

 


The following is a sampling of the questions designed to get GOP candidates to fight with one another:  

Jake Tapper: “Governor [Chris] Christie, I want to ask you about something that Dr. Carson said the other day. Dr. Carson said campaigning is easier for him, because he’s not a politician. He can just tell the truth, therefore, while politicians, quote, ‘Have their finger in the air to see and do what is politically expedient.’ Governor Christie, tell Dr. Carson, is that a fair description of you?”
...
Tapper: “Governor [Jeb] Bush, in addition to the fact that he’s an outsider, one of the reasons Mr. Trump is a frontrunner, Republican voters say, is because they like the fact that he is not bought and paid for by wealthy donors. Mr. Trump has repeatedly said that the $100 million you've raised for your campaign makes you a puppet for your donors. Are you?”
...
Tapper: “Senator [Ted] Cruz, Governor [John] Kasich says that anyone who is promising to rip up the Iran deal on day one, as you have promised to do, is, quote, ‘inexperienced,’ and, quote, ‘playing to a crowd.’ Respond to Governor Kasich, please.”
...
Tapper: “Governor Bush, you recently said while discussing Planned Parenthood, quote, you’re ‘not sure we need a half billion for women’s health issues.’ Now you've since said that you misspoke, you didn’t mean to say ‘women’s health issues.’ But Donald Trump said that quote, that comment, which Hillary Clinton did seize upon immediately, will haunt you the same way Mitt Romney’s 47 percent video haunted him. Tell Donald Trump why he’s wrong.”
...
Tapper: “Ms. [Carly] Fiorina, I do want to ask you about this. In an interview last week in Rolling Stone magazine, Donald Trump said the following about you. Quote, ‘Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that? Can you imagine that, the face of our next president?’ Mr. Trump later said he was talking about your persona, not your appearance. Please feel free to respond what you think about his persona.”
...
Tapper: “I want to bring in Dr. [Ben] Carson because he too has been skeptical of your [Trump’s] plan to immediately deport 11 to 12 million illegal immigrants. He said, quote, ‘People who say that have no idea what this entails.’ Why do you say that, Dr. Carson?”
...
Dana Bash: “Governor Bush, Mr. Trump has suggested that your views on immigration are influenced by your Mexican born wife. He said that, quote, ‘If my wife were from Mexico, I think I would have a soft spot for people from Mexico.’ Did Mr. Trump go too far in invoking your wife?”
...
Tapper: “We’ve received a lot of questions on social media about the economy and about jobs. We have two CEOs on stage right now. Ms. Fiorina, you were CEO of Hewlett Packard. Donald Trump says you, quote, ‘ran HP into the ground,’ you laid off tens of thousands of people, you got viciously fired. For voters looking to somebody with private-sector experience to create American jobs, why should they pick you and not Donald Trump?”
...
Tapper: “Dr. Carson, you support scrapping the entire tax code and replacing it with a flat tax based on the principal on tithing from the Bible. If you make $10 billion, you pay $1 billion in taxes, if you make $10, you pay $1 in taxes. Donald Trump believes in progressive taxation. He says it’s not right that rich people pay the same as the poor. Tell Donald Trump why his ideas on taxes are wrong.”
...
Tapper: “Governor Scott Walker, I want to go to you. Dr. Carson wants to raise the Federal Minimum Wage; you have called it a lame idea. Why is raising the Federal Minimum Wage lame?”
...
Tapper: “Mr. Trump, Senator [Marco] Rubio said it was, quote, ‘very concerning to him’ that in a recent interview you didn’t seem to know the details about some of the enemies the U.S. faces. Rubio said, if you don’t know the answers to those questions, you will not be able to serve as commander-in-chief. Please respond to Senator Rubio.”