Appearing as a guest on Saturday's Smerconish show on CNN, former ABC News anchor Carole Simpson -- who was a presidential debate moderator in 1992 -- fretted that NBC's Lester Holt will not be aggressive enough in pressing GOP candidate Donald Trump, and will perhaps devote too much time to Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton's mishandling of classified email as Secretary of State.
Referring back to Commission on Presidential Debates co-chair Frank Fahrenkopf, who had just finished his appearance on the show as a guest, Simpson expressed her wish that she could have volunteered to moderate the debate so she could go after Trump in Holt's place. Simpson:
I wish I could have told Frank Fahrenkopf -- who helped select me to be the moderator in '92 -- I wanted to tell him that I would give anything if I had the chance to do that debate on Monday night. I'm concerned that Donald Trump is going to try to deflect and he's not -- Lester won't be able to pin him down, and he's such a gentleman, he wouldn't be disrespectful. But if I were there, I wouldn't let him go. I would ask the same question again and again and again until he said something that might make some sense.
After host Michael Smerconish wondered whether it really was the job of the moderator to press the candidates, Simpson continued: "But I'm the old-school journalist, the old media journalist, and I grew up and did my reporting career trying to get the truth told, trying to bring out the truth. If Hillary isn't going to do it, then I think Lester has to do it."
She then argued against asking Clinton about her emails, and seemed determined to get answers from Trump about his taxes:
The point is, people are not interested in the emails anymore. They've heard enough about that. They've seen all the changes that Trump has made in his positions. I think they really want to get down to, "Where are your tax returns? Where are they?" And I would keep asking and keep asking, and see how he would fare.