Soledad slams Red State editor’s moderator critique: ‘You have lost your mind’

By Stephen C. Webster
Friday, October 12, 2012 13:40 EDT
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CNN host Soledad O'Brien and RedState.com editor Erick Erickson spar over the 2012 vice presidential debate. Photo: Screenshot via CNN.com.
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CNN contributor and RedState.com editor Erick Erickson finally got a taste of journalistic pushback on Friday morning, in the form of a smiling Soledad O’Brien.

The CNN morning host confronted the conservative talker over a Twitter post he wrote Thursday night, attacking Martha Raddatz, moderator of Thursday’s vice presidential debate, for not taking charge of the conversation.

“I’m sorry, but I think Martha Raddatz did an atrocious job as a moderator,” he wrote. “She lost control of both sides repeatedly.”

In a follow-up, however, Erickson seemed to criticize the ABC News senior foreign policy correspondent for the exact opposite thing: taking charge too much and forcing the candidates to answer specific questions.

“Dear future debate moderators, don’t make the topics in your wheelhouse the focus of a debate millions might watch,” he wrote.

Appearing on CNN just 12 hours later, Erickson had to answer for the schizophrenic criticism. “I think you have lost your mind,” O’Brien said. “I actually thought that wasn’t losing control.”

“I think you’re a journalist and journalists are gonna give her cover,” he replied. “I thought she was horrible.”

Later in the interview, Erickson mentioned “this unemployment number” as something that the moderator should have focused on. However, Raddatz did ask about unemployment, noting that the national jobless rate “just fell below 8 percent for the first time in 43 months,” and asking the candidates how quickly they think it could be driven below 6 percent.

“I just don’t think moderators should make the focus of the debate their wheelhouse,” Erickson said.

“Yeah, I’m just gonna disagree with you on that,” O’Brien replied. “I think she did a teriffic job. I thought that she was super strong. Do you think that [the last presidential debate moderator] Jim Leher did a good job?”

“Actually, I don’t think that either of them…” Erickson said, trailing off. “At least with Jim… I think Jim Leher, at least he really got out of the way and let them talk.”

A CBS News snap poll of undecided voters found that 50 percent thought Vice President Joe Biden won the debate, whereas just 31 percent picked Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI).

This video is from CNN, broadcast Friday, October 12, 2012.

Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster
Stephen C. Webster is the senior editor of Raw Story, and is based out of Austin, Texas. He previously worked as the associate editor of The Lone Star Iconoclast in Crawford, Texas, where he covered state politics and the peace movement’s resurgence at the start of the Iraq war. Webster has also contributed to publications such as True/Slant, Austin Monthly, The Dallas Business Journal, The Dallas Morning News, Fort Worth Weekly, The News Connection and others. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenCWebster.
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