During the vice presidential debate on Tuesday night, both Virginia Sen. Tim Kaine and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence tried to run over moderator Elaine Quijano, a reporter for CBSN. Quijano clearly knew her stuff — she kept the vice presidential candidates on top of things when they wouldn't answer the questions she posed (*cough* Pence avoiding the question about Donald Trump's tax returns). But Elaine Quijano truly won the vice presidential debate when the two candidates were yelling over each other and she shut them down. Cutting them both off, she told them that they needed to stop speaking over each other because viewers would not be able to understand anything they were saying.
Both of the candidates kept cutting off and interrupting Quijano, but she would not have it. Her real mic drop moments came, though, when she refused to let the candidates evade questions. For example, she referenced Sen. Tim Scott, who is black and said that he has been stopped repeatedly by police officers and feels that there are problems with law enforcement and the way they see and treat people of color in the United States. So, Quijano asked Pence what he would say to Scott. Pence started off by saying that he has great respect for Scott, but that law enforcement haven't done anything wrong and that they want to protect communities. He evaded the question, even though Quijano repeated it three times. She would not give up.
It was awesome to see Quijano assert herself, because both of the candidates wouldn't answer the questions she was asking, and both of them were talking over her for much of the debate. But Twitter noticed that she wasn't backing down, even when Pence spoke well over the one minute he got to respond to things and when Kaine would interrupt her or Pence.
But the repeated interrupting and candidates' disregard for the rules weren't the only issues that Quijano faced during the debate. At one point, when Kaine was talking about Trump's tax returns, Quijano tried to redirect him to the question, which was related to 9/11 and the Middle East. But Kaine interrupted her and said, "This is important, Elaine." Yeah. It was awkward.
But Quijano pushed on. She refused to let the candidates talk over their time, and tried her best to keep them on topic. Twitter users were criticizing her for appearing as though she was just reading scripted questions without engaging with the topics of the debate, but in a 90-minute debate on 10 topics, how was she supposed to engage with their answers? Her job wasn't easy — she did the best with the crap pot that she was given.
Sure, maybe her moderating wasn't perfect, but she covered a variety of topics with two men who refused to stick to the questions or treat her with respect. You go, Elaine.