Delaware debate moderator tells Coons, 'Go for it'

Mark J. Fitzgibbons
Nancy Karibjanian, member of the Delaware media and a University of Delaware supplemental faculty member, was co-moderator of the O'Donnell-Coons debate on CNN.

Not long into the debate, Karibjanian zeroed in on O'Donnell's financial and education controversies.

KARIBJANIAN:  Let's open the discussion on correcting some of the financial issues here by talking about some of your own personal financial problems. And most people know about it by now, including an IRS lien that was for about $12,000 in taxes and penalties from '05. There was the '08 mortgage default judgment on your home. You just received your bachelors degree, as you said, because it took a decade to pay off the tuition.

Despite Karibjanian's factual inaccuracies, that's fair game for a U.S. Senate candidate. But then comes the impropriety.

KARIBJANIAN:  The question, then is, how can voters rely upon your thoughts on how to manage the deficit if you're having such personal financial issues of your own?

O'DONNELL: Well, first of all, that IRS tax lien, the IRS already admitted that it was a computer error and my opponent should not be bringing that up, because as I've gone up and down the campaign trail, I've discovered there are thousands of Delawareans who have faced the same thing. An IRS mistake has caused them greatly, which is all the more reason why we need to reform the IRS, not put them in control of our health care.

Second of all, you mentioned education. I don't have a trust fund. I didn't come from a privileged, sheltered background as my opponent says he did...

KARIBJANIAN: Let's stay to the issue of paying bills...

O'DONNELL: I am. I paid for my own college education. I also have a graduate fellowship in constitutional government from the Claremont Institute. I know how hard it is to earn and keep a dollar. And one of the reasons why the Delawareans should be able to trust me is because when I did in this economy, I worked for nonprofit groups. Nonprofit groups were the first to have been hurt. When I fell upon difficult times, I made the sacrifices needed to set things right. I sold my house. And I sold a lot of my possessions in order to pay of my personal debt and to become in a stronger position.

I have worked hard in order to get to the position that I am. So I can relate to the thousands of Delaware families that are suffering right now. And I'm stronger for it. I made it through to the other side. And that's where -- leadership doesn't count in whether or not you fall, it counts in whether or not you've gotten up and that's what I've done.

Karibjanian then turned to Coons like a lawyer to her own witness.

KARIBJANIAN: Let's just remember we're in the discussion portion so if you have anything you want to address on things that have been said on this topic thus far, go for it.

COONS: Well Nancy, I frankly think . . .

I suspect most people outside Delware, as I, had never heard of Nancy Karibjanian before last night. She may be a lovely person. My first impression, though, is that she's a ruling class troll who should never moderate another debate.
Nancy Karibjanian, member of the Delaware media and a University of Delaware supplemental faculty member, was co-moderator of the O'Donnell-Coons debate on CNN.

Not long into the debate, Karibjanian zeroed in on O'Donnell's financial and education controversies.

KARIBJANIAN:  Let's open the discussion on correcting some of the financial issues here by talking about some of your own personal financial problems. And most people know about it by now, including an IRS lien that was for about $12,000 in taxes and penalties from '05. There was the '08 mortgage default judgment on your home. You just received your bachelors degree, as you said, because it took a decade to pay off the tuition.

Despite Karibjanian's factual inaccuracies, that's fair game for a U.S. Senate candidate. But then comes the impropriety.

KARIBJANIAN:  The question, then is, how can voters rely upon your thoughts on how to manage the deficit if you're having such personal financial issues of your own?

O'DONNELL: Well, first of all, that IRS tax lien, the IRS already admitted that it was a computer error and my opponent should not be bringing that up, because as I've gone up and down the campaign trail, I've discovered there are thousands of Delawareans who have faced the same thing. An IRS mistake has caused them greatly, which is all the more reason why we need to reform the IRS, not put them in control of our health care.

Second of all, you mentioned education. I don't have a trust fund. I didn't come from a privileged, sheltered background as my opponent says he did...

KARIBJANIAN: Let's stay to the issue of paying bills...

O'DONNELL: I am. I paid for my own college education. I also have a graduate fellowship in constitutional government from the Claremont Institute. I know how hard it is to earn and keep a dollar. And one of the reasons why the Delawareans should be able to trust me is because when I did in this economy, I worked for nonprofit groups. Nonprofit groups were the first to have been hurt. When I fell upon difficult times, I made the sacrifices needed to set things right. I sold my house. And I sold a lot of my possessions in order to pay of my personal debt and to become in a stronger position.

I have worked hard in order to get to the position that I am. So I can relate to the thousands of Delaware families that are suffering right now. And I'm stronger for it. I made it through to the other side. And that's where -- leadership doesn't count in whether or not you fall, it counts in whether or not you've gotten up and that's what I've done.

Karibjanian then turned to Coons like a lawyer to her own witness.

KARIBJANIAN: Let's just remember we're in the discussion portion so if you have anything you want to address on things that have been said on this topic thus far, go for it.

COONS: Well Nancy, I frankly think . . .

I suspect most people outside Delware, as I, had never heard of Nancy Karibjanian before last night. She may be a lovely person. My first impression, though, is that she's a ruling class troll who should never moderate another debate.