Wash Monthly Political Animal: CONSERVATIVES TARGET IFILL ON EVE OF DEBATE

Wash Monthly Political Animal

CONSERVATIVES TARGET IFILL ON EVE OF DEBATE

The goal among Republicans has been to lower expectations for Sarah Palin’s performance in tomorrow night’s vice presidential debate. The new goal, apparently, is to make the post-debate spin easier by discrediting the moderator.The right is in an uproar this morning because PBS’s Gwen Ifill, the moderator for the debate — she also refereed the 2004 V.P. debate — is poised to publish a book about “emerging young African American politicians forging a bold new path to political power.” The book, according to the publisher, builds off of Obama’s presidential campaign to draw broader conclusions about race and politics.

As conservative activists see it, if Ifill is writing a book that is at least partially about Obama, then she’s necessarily biased in support of the Democratic ticket. And if she’s biased, she’ll be unfair tomorrow to Sarah Palin. And if she’ll be unfair, the argument goes, she shouldn’t be the moderator.

All of this seems like a bit of a stretch. First, the critics apparently haven’t read Ifill’s book, and don’t know whether, or to what extent, it reflects support for Democrats in general, or Obama in specific.

Second, Ifill’s book has been in the works for quite a while, and the McCain campaign’s professional research and media team nevertheless approved Ifill as the moderator.

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