Michael Steel, a spokesman for GOP vice presidential candidate Paul Ryan, indicated Thursday night that he’s not at all certain ABC News journalist Martha Raddatz moderated the sole debate between Ryan and Vice President Joe Biden fairly.
“I thought she obviously asserted herself more than [Jim] Lehrer did,” Steel said, referencing the moderator of the first presidential debate last week, according to Politico. ”[B]ut there was still a great deal of crosstalk, there was still a great deal of difficulty making points in a reasonable and progressive fashion.”
“So you think she made it fair, would you say?” a reporter asked in a follow-up question.
“I’m not sure I would say that,” Steel replied. (RELATED: Raddatz gives lopsided VP debate moderating performance)
After The Daily Caller reported Wednesday that President Barack Obama attended Raddatz’s second wedding, where she wed Obama’s current Federal Communications Commission chairman Julius Genachowski, Steel said the Ryan campaign had “no concerns” about Raddatz’s potential for running the debate with an uneven hand.
Raddatz and Genachowski have since divorced and are remarried to separate spouses. (RELATED: ABC News scrambles to downplay Obama’s attendance at Raddatz’s wedding)
Neither Steel nor another Ryan spokesman have responded to TheDC’s requests for comment about Steel’s very different statement now that the debate is over.
Even though Raddatz declined to stop Biden’s many interruptions, several reporters and commentators from establishment media outlets vigorously and quickly defended her.
The Poynter Institute touted Raddatz’ performance with a montage of tweets from media figures it said “praise[d]” her as moderator. BuzzFeed ran a headline claiming Raddatz was the debate’s “winner” and quoted Steel sparsely without noting his larger conclusion about the debate’s fairness.
In supporting Raddatz, Buzzfeed cited former Democratic former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland and tweets from liberal commentators and columnists Andrew Sullivan, Ezra Klein, Bill Maher and Dave Weigel, concluding that “[p]olitical reporters and commentators largely agreed.”
Politico media reporter Dylan Byers, who has defended Raddatz’s journalistic credentials throughout the week, also declared Raddatz the “winner.”
“”The response from the political media,” he said, “was almost unanimously positive.”