msnbc | September 30, 2012
>>> they are practicing for the debates and for some perspective for that one, i'm joined by carol simpson, the only minority to moderate a presidential debate . carol, it's great to have you here. every weekends. talk to you,
>> and i have watched you for so long. i want to ask you about the 1992 debate that you moderated. it's a huge stage, what goes into getting ready for that?
>> i only had five days to prepare when i was notified that i would be a moderate for. so let me tell you, i did have the briefing books just like the presidential candidates , i studied day and night their positions on every issue there was. i understood the rich and undecided voters and what issues they were concerned about. so it took a lot of preparation. but you know what i learned?
>> i learned and i'm going to sup jet some people now but debates are more about style than substance. paul ryan can read all of these books about world leaders and his economic plan and mitt romney can talk about his five-point plan for the economy, but the advantage of being a moderator is that people told me what they thought about the debate after the debate. and the things they told me were things like why did george w. bush look at his watch? where did he have to go? why was he anxious to get out of there? and people tell me now that they want to see how they do. they don't want to hear, i think they have heard a lot about the economy, and they're not interested in the nimine nush that. so it's really about style skbrchlt i don't think you're going to upset a lot of people except maybe candidates because a lot of people come away, honestly, carol, from these debates and talk about what we will talk about years after the fact. it is the one liners, it is looking at your watch and where did he have to go.
>>> ? that kind of thing is very dipity because it's a performance buy these guys. truly.
>> it is. it is and that's why i call it a performance art . i hope they are preparing, you know, like, al gore should not have been sighing as he did, in his debate with george w. bush . they have to concerned every gesture they make. every little smile that might be inappropriate. so that's what i'm going to be looking for, i teach students at emerson college and we're learning road to the white house and so i will have them looking at those kinds of things. we know they know what their facts are and what their talking points are, it's the unusual that sticks in people's minds.
>> and that will make for certainly a very interesting class.
>> president bush , independent ross perot and at the time democratic challenger bill clinton . what were your impressions of the three as you look back now?
>> well, i love george w. bush , i covered him for eight years when he was vice president so i knew the family, i knew all of the children and grandchildren and i have great respect for him. bill clinton i knew because i covered education and he was the arkansas governor that tried to do a lot to improve education in arkansas a. ross perot i did not know, but my impression of him was that he was a little kooky.
>> so but yornt surprised by the "snl" parodies i take it afterwards?
>> you know, he wasn't part of deciding what the set wiz going to look like and they chose stools and he never sat on the stool because his legal feet were dangling. oh, my, his feet were dangling over the side so. he stood the whole time. but again, look at the performance, george bush stayed at his chair the entire time of the debate and bill clinton just waded right into the audience, he was within arm's length of some of the questioners an people saw that and thought wow, he really does understand u, he does know what we're feeling, he has the little bite in his lip and that warmth that just comes through this. obama and romney are both great speakers, but i think obama's got the edge in terms of turning a phrase.
>> given the way that you are describing this and the ways that people remember, i think you've got to be giving the edge to president obama and the way he's able to real to people.
>> is he truly an or for.
>> you have written a piece critical to the mods rate for panels. tell us about that. well i was chosen on the commission of presidential debates and was told that they wanted a oprah style town hall debate, that had never been tried before and they wanted to try that and oprah at that time was very much in the audience talking about to people and so i was excited so that was fine with me. what was disturbing was that 20 years later, kand crowlandy crowley, who was one of the best political reporters in the country is being given the same role that i had. i didn't get to ask my own questions. i held the microphone while these undecided voters got to ask their questions, i followed up, i could make sure thirp answering the requests, but in a year with women's issues and reproductive rights and contraception and abortion have come up and women are very concerned about them. i'm not happy that candy is not able to ask her own questions. yet, bob sheaver, great reporter, jim larry, great moderator, they can ask those questions surely, but they would haven't the impact than if they came from a woman. he have those reproductive systems that men are telling us what we can and cannot do with. so i wish that we had the opportunity, i feel that we are being marginalized, that women are not able to go mano-a-mano with the people.
>> duly noted, carolina sump son, i'm glad we gave you time to share that, i see your point, well taken, thank you very much.
>>> good to speak you with.
>>> and we remind all of you you can watch the debate this wednesday night at