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Washington Matters

Gwen Ifill Wrong Choice for Moderator

The big VP debate tonight between Joe Biden and Sarah Palin could be critical in this presidential race, much more so than in other recent elections. The Commission on Presidential Debates would have done better to have picked a different moderator. Even if Gwen Ifill performs her role perfectly and displays no bias or favor, there is an appearance-of-conflict issue at hand. Not a small one in my opinion. 


Ifill is a respected journalist and political talk show host for public television. No question there.

The problem is she is writing a book for a major publisher, Simon & Schuster, on Barack Obama titled Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama. It is scheduled to go on sale on January 20, the day the next president is inaugurated. Advance copies of the book won't circulate for months, but the title alone certainly suggests favorable treatment. Sales would be greater if he won the election, no doubt.

Michele Malkin chimes in against the Ifill choice in Wednesday's New York Post.

Ifill should step down today. A replacement won't have much time to prepare, but there are plenty of well-versed journalists around who can pull together tough and credible questions before 9 -- preferably someone who is not writing a book on Sarah Palin, either.