Filipino-American journalist Elaine Quijano receives mixed reviews as VP debate moderator

By MediaNewser.com | Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Photo: Getty Images
Elaine Quijano, the first Filipino-American to moderate a national television debate in the U.S., has received mixed reviews for her performance Tuesday night.

The 42-year-old Filipina journalist, who is currently one of the faces of CBS' digital news network CBSN, moderated the first and only vice presidential debate of the 2016 election cycle, which featured Republican Mike Pence and Democrat Tim Kane.

Gina Mei of Cosmopolitan proclaimed her as the night's clear winner, writing that she "totally stole the show" from the two vice presidential hopefuls. She wrote: "Despite both candidates talking over her on multiple occasions, Quijano continuously held her ground, kept the debate moving, and refused to allow either Kaine or Pence to talk past their time limits. She also called both candidates out when they avoided answering her questions, and constantly helped to guide the conversation so that it would touch on a variety of important topics."

Pollster and political consultant Frank Luntz, through his Twitter account, also tweeted his praise, writing, "Moderator @Elaine_Quijano is asking real questions tonight and seeking real answers... Thank God. #VPDebate."

Others saw it differently and criticized her moderating style. Dylan Byers of CNN Money remarked that Quijano loses the debate by sticking firmly to the script. "Fiercely committed to her script, she stopped the candidates when they were in the middle of a good discussion and failed to stop them when they were simply talking over one another," he wrote.

Chris Cillizza of The Washington Post, for his part, named her one of the night's losers, writing: "Quijano lost control of the debate within minutes of it starting and never really got it back. She seemed to dole out 20 seconds here and 30 seconds there for Pence or Kaine or both to respond to each other with no rhyme or reason. She never was able to get Kaine or Pence to, well, stop talking. Then there was the fact that she didn't seem to follow the flow of the debate; Kaine and Pence would be feuding about, say, tax returns, and Quijano, after getting the two men to stop talking, would say something like, 'Let's talk about North Korea.'"

Quijano was born in Chicago, Illinois and is of Filipino descent. She started her television career at the CBS affiliate in Illinois WCIA-TV and WFTS-TV in Tampa, Florida. She would eventually join CNN Newsource in 2000, where she covered the September 11 terrorist attacks, and would later on be promoted as the network's White House correspondent. Since 2010, Quijano has been part of CBS News, initially reporting for programs like The Early Show and CBS Evening News, until she was promoted as anchor for CBSN and the Sunday edition of CBS Weekend News.

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