Feb 25, 2020
By Kelby Clark
The ‘Face the Nation’ host discusses how she prepared for the presidential debate, which will air live on CBS and BET.
For the Democratic presidential candidates, tonight’s debate in South Carolina is critical. It’s their final face-off before the state’s primary and Super Tuesday, when voters in 14 states will head to the polls.
It’s also a big night for ViacomCBS, as it’s the first debate of this cycle hosted by CBS News. In addition to airing on the broadcast network, it will air on BET, and stream live from Charleston, S.C. on CBSN, CBS News’ free 24/7 streaming news service and on Twitter via @CBSNews. It’s the first major television event to broadcast simultaneously on CBS and another network within the ViacomCBS portfolio.
In the political context, its timing is “key,” says Face the Nation moderator and CBS News senior foreign affairs correspondent Margaret Brennan. “To have this many candidates still in the race, I think you're going to see a lot of elbows thrown because they know how high the stakes are.”
Brennan will join in the debate questioning alongside CBS News’ chief Washington correspondent Major Garrett and 60 Minutes correspondent Bill Whitaker. Norah O’Donnell, host of CBS Evening News, and Gayle King, co-host of CBS This Morning, will moderate.
The Congressional Black Caucus Institute will co-host the event. Thanks to a debate partnership with Twitter, voters will be able to tweet questions for the moderators to ask using the hashtag #DemDebate.
Ahead of the debate, ViacomCBS Newsroom spoke to Brennan about how she prepared, what she wants for the viewers, and how her previous interviews with several of the candidates on Face the Nation will inform her strategy.
"This is part of our democracy, and I think it's a good thing to try to remember that. This isn't our television program. This is a platform for our democracy."
"I have pages and pages of questions that won't make it into this debate, but you may see them show up on 'Face the Nation.'"