O’Donnell and King seemed, at times, a bit at odds with each other during debate
Not only did CBS moderators Norah O’Donnell and Gayle King get heavy criticism for odd questions and their seeming lack of control of a debate that quickly seemed to go off the rails at times, there were also some awkward moments between the pair.
The first happened right near the top of the broadcast when O’Donnell and King were introducing the debate.
O’Donnell briefly spoke first seemingly without incident, but King then seemed to stumble over her share of the opening lines — perhaps due to a faulty teleprompter.
As she stumbled through her opening with lots of glances down at her printed script, O’Donnell kept smiling and nodding awkwardly, but her facial expressions could have been read as being a bit miffed.
Toward the end of the debate, O’Donnell declared the debate over on air.
“No … no, we have time for one more break,” interjected King. “Time flies when you’re having fun,” she added, seemingly as a way to attempt to smooth over her awkward interruption, while O’Donnell sat stiffly nodding and smiling as the network faded to a commercial break.
The pair returned to screen after the break only to announce the debate was, in fact, over and didn’t ask any other questions, instead giving a bit stilted sign off that plugged more coverage on the network, CBSN and local stations.
Two other seemingly minor incidents were also noteworthy: At the very top of the broadcast, King and O’Donnell appeared on stage trying to speak over background applause and King was first to introduce herself rather than O’Donnell, who has seniority at the network over King and holds the arguably more prestigious job of anchor and managing editor of the network’s flagship newscast.
At the end of the debate, meanwhile, O’Donnell signed off with “for all of us at CBS News, I’m Norah O’Donnell, good night” without mentioning King or giving her a chance to sign off, though King did a “good night” in.
In fairness, O’Donnell didn’t quite have the dramatic reaction that she did back in January during a special report.