Hours after the deadly attacks in Paris, CBS News made a decision to rework the focus for the Democratic presidential debate the network is hosting in Iowa, Saturday.
With an emphasis on issues of terrorism, national security and foreign policy, questions were reformulated as debate rehearsals were taking place and news broke about the terrorist attacks in Paris, Friday.
Steve Capus, the executive editor of CBS News and the executive producer of “CBS Evening News,” told The New York Times that though the planned format was different, “there is no question that the emphasis changes dramatically.”
As the CBS News team scrambled to make the debate questions more relevant to the attacks, Capus said it was important to move forward with the schedule as eyes turn to the U.S. and its leadership during times of crisis.
“American leadership is put to the test,” said Capus. “The entire world is looking to the White House. These people are vying to take over this office.”
“This is exactly what the president is going to have to face,” he said.
The Des Moines debate, scheduled to air at 9 p.m. EST, will feature Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and former Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley.
CBS News vice president, Christopher Isham, told the Times, “Last night’s attacks are a tragic example of the kinds of challenges American presidents face in today’s world, and we intend to ask the candidates how they would confront the evolving threat of terrorism.”
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