Three Montclair, N.J., high school students are "over the moon" Monday after Candy Crowley was chosen to moderate one of the presidential debates this fall. Sammi Siegel, Emma Axelrod and Elena Tsemberis drew national attention (and 180,000 signatures) with an online petition urging the Commission on Presidential Debates to select a woman for the job.
Siegel, 16, tells Yeas & Nays that the girls got the idea for the petition from a civics program at their high school. Their success came as a shock. "The first night, there were 40 people," Siegel said of the signatures. "And I was like, 'Oh my gosh! Forty people agree with us!'" Within days, the petition had 100,000 signatures.
Siegel, who fences and has yet to obtain a driver's license, says the experience has made her consider a career in politics or social advocacy, though "it's hard to decide right now." For now, she'd be satisfied to see kids and their parents watch the debate. "We want to ensure that there's not another 20-year gap without another woman moderating," she said. The last woman to moderate a presidential debate was Carole Simpson in 1992, before Siegel was born.