Campaign managers for Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton disagreed Sunday on whether the moderator for Monday night's debate, NBC News anchor Lester Holt, should challenge false assertions by the candidates.
NBC took flak after Matt Lauer, co-anchor of "Today," questioned Trump and Clinton at a "Commander-In-Chief Forum” on Sept. 7.
Critics blasted Lauer for not objecting when Trump falsely claimed that he had opposed the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq from the start. The New York businessman expressed support for the war in interviews at the time.
Clinton backers were angered when Lauer repeatedly focused on her use of a private email server while serving as secretary of State. In July, FBI Director James Comey said Clinton had been "extremely careless" but had not committed a crime.
Blaming the moderator is not new in politics but is especially intense this year. It's put pressure on Holt, who will ask the questions Monday night, the first time the two nominees appear on stage together.
On Sunday, Clinton campaign manager Robby Mook said on ABC's "This Week" that Holt should point out when Trump clearly lies, calling Trump a special case because he has repeated so many falsehoods.
"It’s unfair to ask for Hillary both to play traffic cop while with Trump, to make sure that his lies are corrected, and also to present her vision for what she wants to do for the American people," he said.
Appearing after Mook, Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway praised Holt, a shift in tone from Trump's complaint this week that he doesn't think he'll be treated fairly.
"He's a respected, brilliant newsman. He'll do a good job," Conway said.
She also said it shouldn't be up to debate moderators to fact-check the candidates.