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Next presidential debate moderator, former intern to Joe Biden, under the microscope

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Questions have arisen over the impartiality or lack thereof of C-SPAN senior executive producer and political editor Steve Scully, the man chosen to moderate the next presidential debate scheduled for Oct. 15.

Scully, now-60, reportedly worked as an intern in then-Sen. Joe Biden’s mailroom for six weeks from September to October 1978. The following spring, he reportedly worked as an intern in then-Sen. Ed Kennedy’s office.

According to some, this connection alone makes Scully an inappropriate choice for moderator, particularly in light of moderator Chris Wallace’s biased, one-sided performance during the first presidential debate this past Tuesday.

Among those who feel this way is Sen. Ted Cruz.

“Everyone agrees Tuesday’s debate was a train wreck. A major contributing fact was the moderator Chris Wallace, a registered Democrat, repeatedly interrupting to try to help Joe Biden,” he tweeted Tuesday.

“The next debate is set to be moderated by a former intern to…Joe Biden. This is NUTS. And no Republican should allow this bias to continue in future elections.”


Others disagree.

Michelle Malkin, a staunch conservative and renowned political commentator, called the attacks on Scully over his past internship work for Biden “lame.”


However, the internship factoid is one of many that suggest Scully may not be the optimal choice. While it’s true that his internship with Biden happened 42 years ago, a photo posted by him just four years ago shows him attending a Biden “beach bash.”


But there’s more. That same year, he posted a David Brooks column to Twitter bluntly titled, “No, Not Trump, Not Ever.”


Combined, these factoids unequivocally disqualify Scully for the job of moderating the next presidential debate, according to critics.


Commentator Mark Dice’s complaint that Scully “will be given the power to cut Trump’s mic” is based on reports that the Commission on Presidential Debates is mulling over whether to empower future debate moderators with a “tool” that would allow them to cut off the participants’ microphones if the debate gets unruly.

Speaking with Fox News, Media Research Center vice president Dan Gainor argued that, given the information that’s available on him, assigning Scully to the role of moderator is essentially “equivalent of giving the Democrats home-field advantage.”

Scully has, for his part, committed himself to being fair.

“The town hall meeting is unique because it’s really more of a facilitator role, but to listen carefully, to follow up, to make sure that the president, that Joe Biden … follow the rules, that they don’t filibuster,” he said in an interview last month.

“And my hope really is that we’re going to ask very direct questions, and we’re going to push for very direct answers, and to make sure it’s fair across the board.”


Regardless of what happens, whether Scully behaves or pulls a Chris Wallace, the president’s supporters do appear confident he’ll triumph yet again.


Vivek Saxena


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